Baugenossenschaft Letten (BGL) is a Swiss housing cooperative based in Zurich founded on February 16th, 1922. It’s a very well-established organization - not only is it a housing platform, but they also have a social role in the community, providing resources to help their communities grow and live happily. In light of them approaching their centennial celebration, BGL decided that it was time to elevate their online presence and bring it forward into the future while also maintaining their traditions. They wanted an intuitive, informative, and easy-to-navigate website.
Previously, Baugenossenschaft Letten was using a website that was a decade old, or in other words, outdated. They didn’t have an issue with the website’s performance, but then again, it was mostly a text-based website, with limited visuals and no dynamic content - and unfortunately, they had no simple way of maintaining the content on the website in a modern way. And so, in an effort to bring BGL onto a new level of digital presence, they decided to create a new website with an elevated tech stack that allows them to easily maintain their content. At the same time, the new website should still reflect their values and traditions and offer the same features and functionalities for their customers. Part of refreshing their image was to recreate the platform in a way that allowed people in the community to see what BGL was up to, the projects they have in mind for the future, and to have more transparency with their users - so they approached Naturaily, a web development agency from Poland.
Naturaily is a remote-first web & software development agency based out of Poland, who have 12 years of experience focusing on web development, specifically the Jamstack approach, the Internet of Things (IoT), Shopify integrations, eCommerce, and UX/UI Design. As an agency, they highly value openness, transparency, sustainability, and sincerity and look for these values in the clients they work with as well.
Their Jamstack approach also varies depending on the client they are working with, as they look to find the best solutions for their client's needs. It's not about the tech itself as much as it is about solving the business problem at hand, especially if there is a budget to consider. They audit their client’s current solutions and try to find the best way to transfer into the latest standards with regards to UX, performance, etc. Naturaily also goes further than just web development - they like to hear from their customers during their collaboration. They listen to what problems the clients might have and implement creative solutions in terms of workshops, scoping sessions, UX/UI design, development, and of course, maintenance. It depends on the customer, but it’s always about finding a solution and walking the client through the process.
There’s always a balance to be found, though. Previously, there was a big shift towards visuals - heavy websites with hundreds of photos and videos, for example, but the page speeds were atrocious. Performance and UX also need to be considered, and a balance found, so they need to educate their clients on that. Especially now that there’s been a shift caused by Google's update to the Web Core Vitals. These metrics, which are used to evaluate the user experience loading a webpage, have started to become ultra-important. This has been more prevalent recently with the pandemic and the increase in eCommerce, where you need to have a high-performance website.
BGL’s old website was created ten years ago, and it looked and felt anachronous with its simple table structure. It had no trend of user experience at all. They had good performance, but it’s difficult not to when your website is essentially plain text. BGL didn’t have the visuals they wanted to have. They didn’t have the ability to really change the content, so with the 100th anniversary coming up, they wanted to refresh their image and provide a proper platform for their community. They didn’t have too many requirements; they wanted a lightweight site, both in terms of visuals and page speed, and built with future-proof technology.
For Naturaily, it was a learning experience creating this project with Storyblok. Other than a few teething issues during the setup of the Graph QL API and the Rest API, as well as implementing both SSG and SSR scripting at the same time to reach different goals simultaneously, they enjoyed the experience of working on this project. Good relations with BGL and the designer meant they could easily onboard the content team by creating a manual for them on how to use Storyblok and their implementation of it. Now, the content team has the capability to update, change, and maintain their new site easily due to Storyblok’s Visual Editor and the drag-and-drop content bloks. It was a fun challenge, but they all enjoyed themselves, and BGL were ecstatic with the outcome. Naturaily used Lighthouse and GTMetrix to evaluate the performance of the newly launched BGL site and found that their metrics improved to above 90 in all categories, and more so than that, they have a platform on which they are able to have a more meaningful, connected relationship with their community.
- Best Practices
The new face of BGL also has all the advantages of being built using the Jamstack approach, such as good performance, scalability, great user experience, high security, maintenance, and flexibility.
At Storyblok, we have always strived in creating the best headless experience possible, made for both developers and marketers. In that, we created a system tailored to fit and adapt to the technological needs of developers and the flexibility of managing content for marketers. For Baugenossenschaft Letten, this was a perfect opportunity to recreate their online presence to have a better, smoother experience for themselves and also for their community users. By creating this modern platform where people can find new homes and resources, BGL has elevated the way they connect to their community through Storyblok.
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