July 18, 2010

I Wish There Were A Way To… by Carlos Rodriguez

carlos@amtopmcreative.comWe get all tingly when we hear a client say this because it means we get to emphatically say Yes, there is definitely a way. Web apps are what we love and they give us the opportunity to turn a simple brochure site into an experience that users appreciate and even enjoy.

While David Harap, author of Enterntain Like A Gentlemen, gave our first pass at his site his seal of approval, he asked if we could expand the project further. We had taken Davids’ book of recipes for everyday guys and created an experience on the web that would feel turn-key for his audience. A user could download recipes, their corresponding shopping list, and watch video. David then asked ‘Would it be possible to generate an aggregated shopping list for the users who are viewing multiple recipes? And, can we do it within a reasonable budget? ‘ With presidential campaign zeal, we replied ‘Yes we can!

Usually, creating a component on a site that is unique to each user requires a user database, which means more time and more… well, you understand. Jill and I put our heads together and came up with a solution. We would develop an app where users could save their recipes to a ‘box’ of recipes and the app would automagically aggregate a shopping list. When users left the site, the app would gently remind them to print, email, or text their list and recipes. Once the user left the site, then the ‘box’ would reset. This way, we would not have to store any information in a database.

There was one challenge of course. The ‘box’ needed to remain in view and on the site as the user navigated from page to page. We met that challenge with some creative CSS and with a wonderful library of code called jQuery. Without going into all the geeky stuff, combining these techniques saved us time and energy. Meanwhile, David spent a few extra dollars and got a very cool feature that his users will certainly appreciate and maybe even enjoy.

See for yourself. Visit EntertainLikeAGentleman.com.

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