Rapid Prototyping for MDW Con

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Tim Malbon from Made by Many requested Jesse Weaver and I to help him with a presentation at the Making Digital Work Conference in Boulder earlier this year. The idea was to split conference attendees into small groups and come up with two different versions of an idea. Jesse and I would then make a website for each variation and use Google’s web optimizer to run some A/B tests on the variations. It was meant to teach conference attendees the importance of rapid prototyping and testing.


I bought a quick splash page template from theme forest and made a quick prototype. Once Tim approved the design, I planned/streamlined the process for taking the information conference attendees gave us and putting it on the site templates. Once we actually got the information, it was simply a matter of inputting the data and setting up some google’s web optimizer to run the tests! We managed to build 16 separate sites in a matter of hours. The conference attendees had brand new websites to look at when they showed up the next morning.


The tests were successful and conference attendees were very thrilled to see their ideas materialize into something “official looking” on the web. Overall, the message was clear, rapidly prototyping an idea can pay off in the long run. I learned about rapidly organizing chaos during this project and about the importance of having accessible website backups incase something goes wrong. About 2 hours before the presentation, my server went down in a large DDoS attack on my network. Luckily, the server was back up by the time we presented, but I should have had backups to quickly throw on someone else’s server in case something like this happened. Lesson learned.