During the spring of 2007, Contiki, whose web team is based in London, approached us with an interesting challenge. We were asked to take their existing Ruby on Rails web site and connect it, through a web service, to their larger parent company’s booking engine, which has been under development for ten years. A month after the start of the working relationship, we began to assist them with basic enhancements to their existing site, specifically to improve their test coverage and help plan for an upcoming web site redesign.
Before we officially came on to the project, Contiki contracted a graphic design team to provide the initial page concepts for the new Contiki website. We were responsible for designing and developing a custom Content Management System that would power the new site. The system was designed to accommodate each of their selling regions, which have their own Operations and Marketing departments. We spent several months working with their Operations departments to design and develop a workflow that would allow them to manage their upcoming print and web-based brochures, which included the management of tour itineraries and optional activities that their customers could purchase in addition to the tours.
There are a number of new features that were introduced in the new site. Contikipedia articles are pieces of editorial content created by Contiki staff along with corresponding user comments. People are now able to save trips and articles for future reference within the system, email their friends about upcoming trips, and share photos from their adventures on Contiki.com with their friends, family, and the rest of the Contiki community.
In the fall of 2008 Contiki.com went through another large scale redesign to align the look and feel of the website with the next year’s brochures. We worked with the Contiki web team and global brand manager to incorporate the visual design put forth by team of graphic designers. Our work with Contiki continues as we introduce improvements to the workflow and new features in response to the needs of the business, including allowing Contiki team members to manage promotional campaigns on each of the regional web sites and improving the user experience, particularly with the tour booking process.