A New and Ancient Story
It was with great enthusiasm that I started work on a new project for Charles Eisenstein earlier this spring; as some of you know, his writings were the catalyst for our adventure down the road of working in a Gift Economy. I was able to work on his personal website (http://charleseisenstein.net) a couple of years ago, and that was a great privilege. But this new project required some serious planning and a lot of hard work.
Charles and team his spent much of the last year developing multiple websites for his individually themed "Learning Journeys", and they realized fairly far in that managing all of those sites, with all of their separate user bases, was not scalable. After making some changes to how they were going to proceed to offer content, I was approached to offer any solutions that would help streamline operations and ensure that the team could produce new content quickly and easily.
We ended up with an approach that involved moving away from multiple websites to one "hub" website. This hub would be the one and only place that people would have to subscribe, and from this hub they would could subscribe to any of Learning Journeys.
I am writing a detailed technical analysis of how we accomplished this, but for here let me say that it involved utilizing the WordPress user system and creating subscription forms that could add "custom capabilities", or CCAPs, to each user, depending on the form they completed. This way, a user could register one time, and then any individual subscription form they completed would add a new CCAP to their user account, and that CCAP would grant access to the Learning Journey.
Of course, all of this had to allow for Gift Economy options for people to support Charles' work, and those options needed to utilize multiple payment gateways and optional one-time or monthly plans.
All of that behind-the-curtain coding aside, we also wanted a design that reflected the design on Charles' personal site but also allowed for a unique presentation of the content. We kept the same color palette (yellow and blue) and the same fonts as charleseisenstein.net, but incorporated a new layout, and created a way to allow each Learning Journey to include its only "branding" elements (colors and imagery).
I worked closely with Charles' amazingly brilliant team, through many long nights, to get everything just right.
The end result is working beautifully and the feedback has been super positive. It is definitely a project that I am extremely proud of, both because it took me to the limits of my skill set, and because it is helping to further the ideas that are most important to me.
I hope you can take a moment to check it out, and maybe consider subscribing to some of the amazing content.