PACT Case Study

Desktop view of the project

Beyond building a website, we're building a business

Challenge

Art PACT founder and veteran fantasy artist Jim Pavelec was inspired to create a community of artists that can collaboratively improve working conditions for professional freelance and up-and-coming artists. 

The challenges facing independent artists today are many: The source of inexpensive labor is plentiful. Original art is used in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago. With the advent of the internet age, the original artwork produced by artists quickly and freely proliferates, and not always by their wishes or intent. Publishers have immense power and can dictate prices and terms. 

I was very impressed with the sites in Tecture's portfolio of clients. They produce a clean design that is so often missing in websites designed in my industry. They understood my budget and worked to deliver the absolute best possible product within that budget.Jim Pavelec Founder / CEO, ArtPact

Pavelec recognized that artists must learn to educate and protect themselves with better contract terms, fair pay, and above all, knowledge of their ever-changing industry. 

Pavelec is a veteran freelance artist, and had no experience starting new businesses, let alone developing complex custom web software. He sought a partner to help bring this vision to life, first to help him put together a crowd funding campaign, and then to plan, build and launch the site.

From a software perspective, PACT posed five challenges:

  • First, a need for a membership-based ecommerce system, with annual memberships and coupons to be built from scratch.
  • Second, a need to have powerful custom-built tools to engage its users, including a reviews feature with star ratings, a comprehensive search and filtering system, user profiles, and dynamic user dashboards.
  • Third, the integrity of the website functionality would need to remain consistent across desktops, tablets and mobile web browsers to accommodate the various tools that artists today utilize to create and manage their work.
  • Fourth, PACT administrators required a comprehensive custom administration site to manage the community from behind the scenes, provide billing reports, and manage public website content.
  • Fifth, with the buzz generated from the crowd-funding campaign and subsequent social media efforts, we anticipated a big launch. The site would need to scale when we released the floodgates.

Solution

Pavelec’s background is a freelancer, but he knew he needed an experienced firm to put together and manage such a complex project. He selected Tecture.

Pavelec started by crowd-funding the project through Indiegogo. This crowd-funding approach allowed him to cultivate a large group of supporters and beta users. Tecture respected the finite funds raised through Art PACT's Indiegogo campaign by carefully managing design and development as well as any possible scope-creeping ideas and requests along the way that could threaten the budget established by early adopters.

Next, Pavelec and Tecture created a strategy and designed a comprehensive project to launch PACT. 

They built on the success of the crowd-funding campaign by establishing and actively managing a strong presence on social media. This became the primary communication tool used to keep nearly 5000 supporters engaged and prepped for launch.

With the success of the initial crowd-funding campaign, Tecture designed a teaser page and an ecommerce signup to provide late-comers to the Indiegogo campaign with a way to get involved. This generated additional sales and helped spark additional interest in the PACT mission.

When I first sat down with Tecture I told them I wanted the PACT site to have the functionality of a bank’s website, with a slick design that would appeal to the very critical eye of a large group of professional artists. This is exactly what they delivered to me.Jim Pavelec Founder / CEO, ArtPact

Tecture Founder, Ben Rowland, who led much of the social marketing strategy both prior to and during development, said “social support and engagement is what started PACT in the first place, so being able to provide an enthusiastic audience with updates and progress was incredibly important. It was our responsibility to give them something to be proud of.”

Throughout the project, Tecture prepared numerous artifacts of the project process, including team photos, wireframe and design teasers, and videos showing development underway. These were shared with the community via social media and used to demonstrate project progress and keep PACT supporters engaged. This simple mechanism helped PACT maintain its momentum, even when there wasn’t much to show during the development phase. Excitement reached fever pitch on the eve of launch.

With a strategy in place, Tecture began to spec out the project by creating wireframes, or blueprints, of the inner workings of the PACT site. Tecture shared these wireframes with PACT and selected beta users to generate feedback prior to development.

Ben Rowland was closely involved with the site architecture early on, adding “the wireframes really brought the site to life for Jim and his team, and they gave us tremendously useful feedback very early on. Showing project stakeholders visuals such as wireframes as early as possible in the process makes it easier for them to generate useful feedback and for us to make significant changes prior to design.”

Responsive web designs were produced for each page of the site, allowing each page to seamlessly scale down to lower resolution devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Finally, Tecture’s developers built the database and wrote the code for the website, the custom membership commerce system, the administration tools and integrated everything into a fully functional platform.

To prepare the site for launch, Tecture performed comprehensive quality assurance (QA) testing on the site, and worked with carefully selected PACT beta users to both test the site and seed it with valid content.

With the anticipation for launch and the large number of pre-registrations, I was concerned there could be server drag or, worse, site crashes. The day of the launch, I couldn't have been happier with the website's stable performance.Jim Pavelec Founder / CEO, ArtPact

The final step was launching the site and sending out email blasts and special coupons to all crowd-funding supporters and others who had registered on the initial teaser page.

Art Pact on a tablet

Results

With the launch announcement quickly going viral on social media, registration and ecommerce membership transactions began to pour in within seconds of the launch. "Our team was passionate during Tecture's testing process," said Jonathan Domanus, Tecture's project manager, "and our payoff for the hard work was a site launch without a single hiccup. Just a great experience for both our team and PACT."

The custom website experienced no significant glitches, nor a slowdown in performance under the load of registrations. 

While we are thrilled with the positive reviews the site’s design and quality has been getting from users, the most positive outcome is the indication that the PACT community is growing: the concept is taking hold.

I was impressed with the way Tecture managed this project and I'm happy I made the decision to go with true professionals for the design of the PACT website. I look forward to growing this site with Tecture in the months and years to come. Together we are going to have a very positive impact on the lives of freelance artists worldwide.Jim Pavelec Founder / CEO, ArtPact

Not only is the site flourishing with high-quality reviews and creative content contributed by its members, but artists are reporting that — armed with information and sample contracts from PACT — they have been increasingly successful at improving terms when negotiating with publishers. It’s a small step, to be sure, but an important one. Tecture is very proud to be with them on this journey.

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