Craft News

Murder on the Enterprise Express

Feb 17, 2016 in Case Studies

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Agatha Christie is the world’s best known mystery writer. Her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in 50 foreign languages. She is the most widely published author of all time in any language, outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare. Christie’s writing career spanned more than half a century, during which she wrote 80 novel and short story collections, as well as 14 plays, including the longest-running play in history.

Her stories are timeless masterpieces that will be enjoyed by countless people well into the future. New screen adaptations of classic Christie novels, an upcoming 20th Century Fox remake of Murder on the Orient Express, and even a video game starring Hercule Poirot have repositioned Christie’s works in a modern, fresh way to extend her classic stories to a new audience.

The Problem

Despite the timeless appeal of her stories and characters, Christie’s website was decidedly stuck in the past. The design wasn’t mobile-friendly, and the content was hindered by the complicated authoring experience of their “enterprise CMS”. There had been efforts to modernize the site, but they were thwarted by the CMS’s unnecessarily complex templating system and admin interface.

But Hercule Poirot (Christie’s persistent and clever detective) wouldn’t give up and neither would Julia Wilde, Director of Business Development and Marketing, and her team at Agatha Christie Ltd. They were determined to bring the website into the present on a platform that would grow with them into the future. They just needed the perfect partner who was up to the challenge.

Enter Tim Morgan and the team at Mint Digital.

The Proposal

Mint Digital’s Manifesto states:

One reason so many websites are rotten is that companies get sold technology when what they need is help communicating.

Mint Digital’s proposal for Agatha Christie Ltd focused on choices that would enable great communication. After investigating the scene, the joint conclusion was that the existing enterprise CMS solution had to go, as it would cost more to revive the thing than to simply start over from scratch and rebuild the site.

To make this proposal a budget reality, Mint Digital recommended Craft CMS. They knew Craft had everything they’d need to build an outstanding communication platform that Julia’s team would love, and more importantly, would do justice to Christie’s work and serve fans across the globe.

“By using Craft we can maximize productivity and use the time we save to move onto other things.”

Thomas Pomfret, Mint Digital CTO

Julia’s research confirmed what Mint Digital was telling her—that there was a sane alternative to enterprise: an author-friendly CMS that was easy to learn and use. Julia could feel the headache of maintaining the massive amount of content on the site slipping away. Suddenly all the future projects they wanted to do had a starting point, a new beginning.

The details were ironed out and everyone got to work.

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The Work

Thomas Pomfret, Chief Technical Officer of Mint Digital, considers the role of Mint Digital to be “digital partners” with their clients. Craft’s native friendliness to both developers and content authors makes it easy for them to show their work—a key factor in building trust with clients and establish a true working partnership.

The development team put Craft’s content model to work right away. In particular they made great early use of Matrix fields to build use cases of what was possible. Using Live Preview, they were able to show Julia’s team the 1-to-1 relationship with what they saw in Craft’s Control Panel to the live design on the page. This established trust between development, design, and content early in production.

As the team progressed on the site design, there was never a concern that anything out of the ordinary (or out of budget) would need to be done to get the site working in Craft. They were able to stick with the out-of-the-box functionality and spend their energy on what mattered the most: building a great communication platform that Julia and her team could easily use with minimal training and technical chops.

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The beautiful rebrand does justice to Agatha Christie's works and makes it easy for fans to find what they want.

The Result

Because of Craft’s ease-of-use, Julia and her team were able to start using their new platform from day one. And they didn’t waste any time. They got straight to work giving their audience what they want in a way that honors Christie’s legacy.

The relaunch is a few months old and the team still loves using Craft. Julia and Tim meet every week to build on the great foundation their partnership created. They’re building out an online presence in meaningful ways and making meaningful connections with fans new and old.

The answer to this mystery is clear: Mint Digital, Agatha Christie Ltd’s talented team, and Craft CMS have rescued from an “enterprising” villain and successfully brought the works of Agatha Christie into the 21st century. To quote one of the world’s favorite detectives, “having placed my solution before you, I have the honour to retire from the case.”

“Craft made it really easy for us to get good results for our users and staff on the admin end.”

Julia Wilde, Director of Business Development and Marketing for Agatha Christie Ltd