Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The WOW Wall at One: Discussing the Success of a Favorite Office Feature

Joe Meyer, Solutions Architect
Culture

The Past

We have a fancy touch screen monitor in the lobby of our office. It’s big – it draws the eye.  At first, we weren’t really sure what to do with it. For a long while (and I do mean a long while), we had a nifty video playing that showcased some our culture here at Rightpoint: project successes, Rightpoint wins, little tidbits about the folks who work here and the like. It became apparent however, that a video would be hard to maintain: content couldn’t be updated regularly (or efficiently for that matter) and, what’s more, a casual passerby could not interact with it.

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A committee was formed. Decisions were made. And it was decided that an interactive app of some kind would be, quote “Pretty neat”. So we set out to make just that: an interactive, touch enabled app that would showcase the success stories, talents, and culturally significant moments here in our office and abroad at our region sites n a way that was extensible, maintainable, and as automated as possible. We recognized that we had most of the content we needed in a digital format already. It was just a matter of collating it and showing it off. More committees were formed, more decisions were made, and small project team set out to deliver a lobby experience that would truly WOW. And not long after that, the WOW Wall was welcomed into the world on Windows 8.1.

The Present

But we weren’t done yet: with the launch of Windows 10 imminent, The WOW Wall was quickly ported to take full advantage of the latest and greatest on the newest OS. Shortly thereafter, the meager, relatively static Alpha edition we launched on Windows 8.1 was replaced with a much more lively iteration to usher in Microsoft’s new (truly) unified platform. A Raspberry Pi was provisioned to run the app full time (which freed up a loaner laptop that had been running the old video) and was easier to connect to the touch interface. New content was added; a welcome sight for those here who had seen the same 10 minute video run on loop for over a year.

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Much of the design remained the same after the transition to UWP, but the newest iteration included a lot of new content. At first, new items had to be added by hand. While not ideal, a little extra labor to add new assets proved be less work than editing video together. Furthermore, with the touch –enabled device the WOW Wall is running on, users can interact with content that catches their interest on screen, including Testimonials about our company…

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Videos, now sourced live from Rightpoint’s Vimeo Channel …

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And short bios about the people who work here (coming soon!)

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The app received widely positive reviews. Developers at our Denver Office asked for access to the source code so they could install a WOW Wall of their own. The WOW Wall team has been gaining momentum and continuing to improve the app ever since

The Future

Functionally, there are still some big parts we want to implement in the near future, including a comprehensive Visual State Manager to optimize its appearance on a wider set of devices, in addition to the new content and smaller features we add to the WOW Wall on a regular basis. The endgame is to integrate a much larger variety of services and sources, including real-time content updates from Instagram, our blog, and potentially a whole slew of other internal and external sources we could tap for an ever-changing & growing WOW Wall experience. We might stop adding things to the wall one day…but not until it’s nothing short of WOW!

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