Sierra Entertainment Website – Vivendi – 2006
Making progress in a committee.
One of the largest projects I’ve ever taken on is the development of the Sierra company website. The parent company–Vivendi Games–had chosen to leverage the Sierra brand for all video game production, and part of that included creating a new and more dynamic company website. My manager was the lead on the project and I assisted with the day-to-day work of design, development, contractor communication, copy localization, and ultimately personally populating the website with decades of product content.
My background had included an education in website design and development, but it was nothing like this. This involved approvals from the highest heads of the company and documenting design specs for our contractors to build the website for us, a process that was at times grueling. We were not 100% successful in making the website the best that it could be, but it was leaps and bounds beyond the previous version of the site. One particular oversight that has always stuck with me is that no one remembered to specify that URLs should remain short and user-friendly. The developers set up product pages with long, garbled URLs that no human could remember, and by the time we realized this it was too late to fix it. The lesson was that there’s never too much detail when it comes to a design spec!
I was ultimately proud of the work we did to revitalize our online presence, but it sadly only lasted for about two years. Vivendi Games was eventually merged into Activision, and all online traces of Vivendi Games and Sierra redirected to Activision’s website. C’est la vie.