Full Marketplace Migration In Just 2 Months Led To Scalable Infrastructure and Improved Traffic

FlippedNormals

About this project

FlippedNormals partnered with Imaginary Cloud to migrate its marketplace from Wordpress to a more robust custom-made platform and finally move it to AWS to ensure a more scalable infrastructure. Time was of the essence since the existing technology was causing serious growth constraints.

Result: in just two months the team completed the migration which led to a 4% traffic increase.

our INVOLVEMENT

Development

technologies

Next.js

Ruby on Rails

AWS

What does FlippedNormals do?

FlippedNormals is a CG (Computer Graphics) marketplace that sells assets and training courses by the world’s best 3D artists. They offer curated 3D models, brushes, textures, etc ready to use in gaming, animation, and VFX projects.


With more than 28.000 products, they are one of the leading marketplaces offering such services, with customers across all 5 continents.

FlippedNormals empowers creators, by offering them a platform where they can showcase their CG work and sell them worldwide. Customers from video game development to Hollywood movies resort to this tool to grab some amazing assets for their projects.

FlippedNormals project screen
Full Marketplace migration led to a 4% traffic increase
Imaginary Cloud’s Role

Imaginary Cloud’s role was to re-structure and migrate all the product and user data into the new data model and prepare the migration to the new infrastructure. After this was completed, the team kept working by adding new features and doing continuous development.

Full Marketplace migration led to a 4% traffic increaseNEW PROJECT IN MIND? LET'S TALK

during the project

Being a marketplace, this was a high-complexity project, with more than 28.000 products, thousands of user and vendor information, and several Terrabyte asset libraries. The team needed to be efficient due to the time constraints but also very rigorous in its development. To ensure this, a full team of experts was put into place to support the client.

four stages

Research
Ideation
Execution
Launch & Handover

two stages

Migration
Development

four stages

Requirements
Back-end integration
Website development
Advanced filtering and search

four stages

Research
Ideation
Execution

four stages

Backlog
Bootstrap
Wave 0
Wave N

four stages

Research
Ideation
Execution
Launch & Handover

two processes

ADP
PDP

during the project

Being a marketplace, this was a high-complexity project, with more than 28.000 products, thousands of user and vendor information, and several Terrabyte asset libraries. The team needed to be efficient due to the time constraints but also very rigorous in its development. To ensure this, a full team of experts was put into place to support the client.

PROCESSES USED
migration

Imaginary Cloud started by migrating the existing database from Wordpress to PostgreSQL. A daunting task because of the thousands of items and large size of assets that are normal in a CG marketplace.

After the migration was completed, the team focused on migrating its infrastructure. The site was hosted on Heroku, which had relevant constraints on the ability to scale. Imaginary Cloud was able to migrate it to AWS, completing the first stage in just 2 months.

Continuous Development

After the successful delivery of Stage 1, the client continued to work with Imaginary Cloud on a continuous development basis, adding more features to its product to fuel its growth. The team worked on many different elements, from payment integrations to sales campaign tools to facilitate marketplace promotional campaigns. Imaginary Cloud also helped Flipped Normals improve its Google positioning by implementing an SEO audit, which tweaked the site’s performance and content relevancy.

requirements

The project started off with a team meeting to list all the client requirements. This thorough investigation allows for an easier, quicker, and more cost-efficient delivery. This meeting was led by our Project Manager, which supports the team all through the project, and our Developer, ensuring all technical details are discussed.

Eurofound provided a solid brief that captured the existing infrastructure, their vision for the website, and the technical constraints and requirements. It was a challenging task that needed to be completed in 6 weeks.

back-end integration

Our developer started the development process by creating the back-end integration that would allow the new website to fetch content from the existing database. Using a Django framework, we were able to create an efficient and quick application that retrieved data, generated listings of results and allowed for more advanced options.

Imaginary Cloud and Eurofound met on a weekly basis to ensure everything was being developed as required by the client.

website development

With the main software completed, the next stage was to develop the website to access such tool. For this, our developer followed Eurofound’s style guide to ensure coherence across the client’s digital presence.

Although no designer was allocated to this project, our developer followed UX/UI best practices, since he was able to touch base with several of the designers at Imaginary Cloud.

advanced filtering and search

In order to improve the content navigation, Eurofound wanted to include an advanced filtering and search capability in their database. Having fully mapped the database content in the new software, our developer was able to create a set of category filters that allowed users to select the content of a given topic, and implemented a search element to the page, allowing the user to freely search any document.

research
1. Briefing
2. Benchmark
3. User Research

We identify the main aspects of the business model and user needs.
First, we gather evidence that will support the decisions taken henceforth, ensuring that no decision is made based on vague assumptions.

This stage consists of 3 steps: a briefing with the project's vision and goals and business requirements; user research to guarantee product usefulness and effectiveness from the user's perspective; and a design benchmark to analyze the landscape of similar and complementary products, design patterns and technologies used in the industry.


The Research stage allows us to leverage the knowledge and skills of existing players and ensure features and design differentiation in the market, and ensure costumer fit.

ideation
1. User journey
2. Decision Matrix
3. Wireframes
4. Moodboard

We formulate an approach to the product based on the user's needs and the business model.
This is the core of the creative process and it is where the concept of the product is formulated based on the user's needs and the business model (both identified in the Research phase). Here, the UX designer, the product designer, and the product owner work closely together.

This stage consists of 4 steps: mapping out the user journey, by describing each user's action, with various user scenarios; a decision matrix that helps prioritize the users' and product's goals while considering the product life cycle's current stage; drawing the wireframes, i.e., the pages’ structure and navigation flow to ensure interface usability and reduce design time; and finally, a mood board to ensure that the product's look and feel conveys the desired user experience and is aligned with the user profile and market strategy.

Execution
1.Style guide
2. Graphic user interface
3. prototype

We bring the concept to life and put it into practice.
In this stage, the product designer focuses on creating a physical representation of the concept that has been defined up to this point.

It consists of 3 steps: a style guide, where we define a graphic interface’s style, considering colour palette, fonts, image style, input fields, buttons, and so on, to ensure consistency throughout the application; a graphic user interface design (GUI) which are the end-looking screens by applying the style guide to the wireframes; and a click-through prototype to facilitate the feedback from stakeholders or potential users and investors.

TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT
1. HIGH-LEVEL ARCHITEcTURE
2. PROJECT PLAN

We guarantee that all requirements and ideas generated are realistic to implement.
In this stage, all the work previously done should be achievable considering the available time and budget previously settled.

It consists of 2 steps: a high-level architecture where we detail how the product will be built, identifying baselines for the needed technologies and skills to make it; and a project plan to define the major milestones and provides a general understanding of the project's structure, phases, intersections and interdependencies.

research
1. business case

This initial stage involves gathering crucial information to understand the project's vision, goals, and business requirements. We present the business case, outlining the project timeline, main competitors, complementary products, and high-level exploration of personas. This also involves asking and answering questions to define objectives and explore ideas, ensuring differentiation from existing players in the market.

ideation
1. sITEMAP
2. WIREFRAMES
3. cONTENT

During the ideation phase, we provide the blueprint and structure for the whole website, which defines the relative importance of content as it flows down the page.

The site map establishes the website's structure and content hierarchy for optimal navigation. Wireframing outlines screen structure and navigation flow, prioritizing your digital product’s functionality over aesthetics. Lastly, for the content ideation we help you plan the page content, providing guidelines for audience-adapted material.

Execution
1. pAGE 0
2. GUI DESIGN
3. WEBFLOW DEVELOPMENT

During execution, we deliver the first significant page, typically the home page, ensuring it aligns with your target audience and market strategy. We then apply style to wireframes through GUI design, focusing on visual aesthetics and maintaining consistency across the website. Our Webflow development process follows best practices, incorporating interactions, animations, and responsiveness across devices.

Finally, we present results on a test domain, with client involvement being crucial for a successful outcome.

LAUNCH & HANDOVER
1. TRAINING SESSION
2. PUBLISH WEBSITE

We provide your teams with comprehensive training sessions and Q&A opportunities to empower them to autonomously manage the content. We offer ongoing support, ensuring all necessary information for website updates is readily available, and we configure permissions within Webflow as needed.

Additionally, we seamlessly integrate the website with essential marketing tools such as Google Analytics, configure SEO optimizations, and seamlessly migrate and connect the desired domain. Leveraging Webflow's reliable hosting services, we ensure the website is published with optimal performance and reliability.

research
1. Briefing
2. Benchmark
3. data Research

Our UX designers will target the users profiles and identify their needs when using your product, considering its usefulness and effectiveness from their point of view. Research on design patterns and the industry's most used technologies allows leveraging and understand existing players' knowledge and practice. Plus, it ensures your product/design is specific and different.

ideation
1. Ux assessment
2. executive presentation

We will conduct a UX review to set the product requirements considering the established usability heuristics in the field to deliver a consistent and fluid user experience. All information regarding insights and analytics will be summarised in a visual and compelling audit report that showcases the UX Audit's main findings, quick wins, and recommendations regarding your product's potential improvements.

Execution
1.Style guide
2. Graphic user interface

Together, we will baseline the style guide to ensure that your product's different visual interface elements' are consistent and coherent. Running a UX Audit allows us to solve the main encountered problems with the execution of end-looking screens. Plus, all recommendations that resulted from quick wins acknowledgement will be designed for implementation.

BACKLOG
1. PRODUCT BACKLOG
2. sprint backlog
3. sprint Execution

The product backlog is a list of business and project goals and contains what is forecasted to be developed by the development team, and maintained by the Product Owner. It is a living document, updated continuously, prioritized, and ordered by business value. It may also have product improvements, bugs, technical questions, and so on. Its purpose is mainly to have everything that is needed to reach the project’s Product Vision.

In this stage, we also create a sprint backlog, which is a list of tasks that need to be completed during each sprint. We prioritise the user stories for each sprint and ensure that the team knows what they need to work on.

With the sprint backlog in place, the development process finally starts - sprint execution. Working through the sprint backlog, and delivering small usable pieces of software frequently allows for continuous feedback and refinement, ensuring that the product is always on the right track.

BOOSTRAP
1. Ux assessment
2. high-level architecture
3. CI/CD workflow
4. Feature 0

In this stage, we put in place a briefing that includes the information gathered during the workshop with the team and stakeholders. It presents the vision and goals of the project and clarifies all necessary business requirements. This is also where an FAQ session relative to the nature of the project takes place.

The high-level architecture involves the development of the technical design, with the ideal balance between complexity and reach, This is where we identify external dependencies from third-party providers, such as Stripe, Facebook, Amazon, and so on.

We then start the CI/CD workflow which is the setup of the issue management tool, code repositories, continuous integration system, and development & staging environments. It’s followed by the setup of the code repo and automated test framework, the staging environment and production servers, as well as the continuous integration ecosystem (i.e. servers, deploy hooks, etc)/continuous deployment.

Finally, in Feature 0 we deliver the first meaningful feature: a homepage, a login screen, part of the first dashboard… This step ensures that there is something demonstrable with the perception of value at the end of the Bootstrap Phase.

WAVE 0
1.data model
2. Poc, mtp or mvp
3. viability assessment

With the Data Model, we provide the first baseline of the product’s evolutive data model. It identifies the main data entities and relationships and baselines the data sources and data stores (i.e. relational databases, document data stores, etc.). This step also consists of iterating the product concept and designing the first version of the data model.

Here’s when we present the Proof Of Concept (PoC), Minimal Testable Product (MTP), or Minimal Viable Product (MVP), and we deliver and deploy the first version of the product - even if that version is the implementation of a concept. This helps mitigate technical risks and test the main business premises for developing a market-ready version of the product through a viability assessment.

WAVE N
1. production increments
2. wave retrospective reviews

On the production increments step, we review technical and business risks and the impact of the PoC, MTP, or MVP on the initial premises or Wave 0. Here, we also identify reusable components from Wave 0 to Wave 1 (i.e. often PoCs are not reusable). This helps gather feedback about the first integrated model and assesses the product's viability before moving to Wave 1.

Finally, the wave retrospective reviews the product state, evaluates wave success against business goals, and identifies improvements. We then design goals for the next wave & prioritise features. Doing this allows the team to analyse the work that has been done in previous sprints and plan consciously what should be the next mountain to climb.

TECHNOLOGIES used

Next.js
Next.js
Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails
AWS
AWS

The front-end was developed using Next.js since it was the existing language from the client.

The team kept using the existing back-end technology which was Ruby on Rails.

The project migrated the infrastructure to AWS.

Working Model screen
working model and team

FlippedNormals needed a full technical team to help them deliver their website, so we followed the Managed Project working model, which included a Project Manager, Lead Developer, a team of Developers, QA, and SEO Specialists. This allowed the team to respond quickly to the client’s requirements, with high-quality delivery by following Imaginary Cloud’s development processes. 

key results

This project delivered an in-depth understanding of the customer persona and their interaction with the service.

4%

Increase in traffic after relaunch.

2

Months to complete the full migration.

100%

On-time delivery of all project milestones.

Low

Rate of defects on production ensuring efficient delivery.

Clutch logo

5.0

5/5 stars rating
FlippedNormals Logo
Quoting
Imaginary Cloud's development and coding work is efficient and reliable. Using Slack and Jira as their main tools, Imaginary Cloud leads a communicative and proactive process. The client also highly praises their ability to commit to their promises and deliver upon them.
Emilie Stabell, Project Manager
Dropdown caret icon
Explain your project and book a meeting today.