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September 21, 2011

Recap: 24 Hours of Awesome

September 21, 2011

We've had some time to rest up and recover from the all-night frenzy of planning, designing and coding known as the 24 Hour Web Project. In its third year, SmallBox designs and develops a site literally overnight for one Indianapolis nonprofit, all for free.

This year, we doubled the challenge and took on two websites — one for Earth House and one for INDYCOG. Keep in mind, we don't do templated sites. Each nonprofit received custom web solutions, built from scratch just for them. Yes, we lost a little sleep, but we had a blast and we certainly learned a thing or two along the way.

The Team at Earth House

Stronger Collaboration
Working at the rapid-fire pace and in such proximity, all in the Earth House Café, the team gained a better understanding of each person's role. We had more face-to-face interaction, less emailing and IMing to solve problems. Post-project, I hope we continue to get up from our desks more often to talk through our work together.

Content Doesn't Have to Be So Painful
Managing the content population process for a new website can be a bit of a pain point. Taking on two websites meant there was really no room for error. During the project, we tested out a new product built by our own Joe Downey — a content population tool — and we all felt this tool was key to our success. There were no surprises about unfinished content. The team could see where we stood at a glance at all times. We can't wait to use it on regular client projects.

Sneak Peek of the SmallBox Content Gathering Tool by Joe Downey

And a reaffirmation...

We Heart Indy
We also confirmed something we already knew. Indianapolis is a great place to do business. Earth House and INDYCOG are both amazing organizations, adding cool events and promoting healthy living in our city. Many of our friends and partners stopped by the Earth House to cheer us on. And some awesome folks supported a side aspect of the project — a mini-donation drive for the recipients.

Our Broad Ripple neighbor, Just Pop In matched the first $500 in donations — a goal which was met, then exceeded. We were thrilled so many people stepped up to support Earth House and INDYCOG. We're not sure if it was our sweet moves (see our dancing and acrobatics in our donor recognition videos throughout the blog) or the fact that these two nonprofits are adding so much vibrancy to our city, but at the end of the day, each walked away with more than 500 bucks in addition to their new websites. We can't thank Just Pop In and all of the amazing donors enough!

Have an idea for us?
Though it seems this year will be tough to top, we're plotting ways to make the 24 Hour Web Project even bigger and better in the future. Please let us know if you have any ideas to share in the comments!

p.s. Want to see the Before and After?
Go here for Earth House
and here for INDYCOG.

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