Fast Foodies – Modernising the Epicurious Experience

Client: Condé Nast
Objective:Improve user experience with a faster, more agile solution
Solution:Migration of legacy system to high-speed Node.js

Working with Condé Nast, NearForm reinvigorated the user experience of its food brand, Epicurious, by migrating to high-speed Node.js.

The Challenge

Epicurious is the award-winning, go-to website for serious foodies. Part of the prestigious Condé Nast media group, it has established itself as one of the leading voices in the digital food world. Offering recipes and advice from top chefs and celebrities, the site commands a vast user base with 9.1 million unique visitors per month and 5.3 million followers on social media.

With activity volumes reaching such levels, Condé Nast felt it was an appropriate time to replace its current system with a faster, more agile solution. The client wanted a platform that would simplify user experience, be easy to maintain and be future-proofed. To add to the challenge, the timescale was set at 13 weeks and Condé Nast required 100% uptime with no impact on website performance during build and delivery. Alignment with Condé Nast’s core technical process was also a vital component of the project’s success.

The Response

Following intensive analysis and client consultation, NearForm recommended a complete system redesign and the decision was made to move from Ruby on Rails to Node.js. This transition offered lower latency rates and higher throughput to allow for increased scale. Key to the work was the enhancement of the database and user account management. To make the transition as smooth as possible, our developers rewrote the API to ensure that existing functionality was incorporated in the final output.

In line with NearForm’s collaborative engagement model, our team worked closely with the designers of the original system and provided ongoing training and support as the project progressed. Weekly demo sessions were organised to keep the Condé Nast team informed of all system changes. This hands-on approach also made sure that any deviations from the client system were identified and resolved immediately.

The Results

Combining developer expertise, the advantages of open software tools and a strong understanding of customer needs, NearForm delivered above and beyond client expectations. 100% uptime was maintained throughout the build, there was no disruption to user experience at any point and the new system launched with full user functionality. As a little NearForm cherry on top, the project was also delivered one week ahead of schedule.

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