Kettle is a digital-native agency that's partnering with some of the most beloved brands in the U.S. to deliver unique digital experiences.
Recently, they led an ambitious overhaul of Departures.com, a travel magazine for American Express Platinum and Centurion card-holders.
Kettle’s Need for Unique Third-Party Integrations
Rebuilt on a completely new technological and editorial platform, Kettle required a number of integrations with third-party services that were unique to Departures.com’s needs - such as video transcoding and streaming.
We at Colladeo love to participate in projects like these. And while we typically don't implement content websites ourselves (other than this very site), we enjoy partnering with creatives who do, and helping them overcome all technical challenges.
Providing Unique Solutions that “Hit the Mark”
We delivered two major integrations:
- With a video transcoding service
- With the newsletter provider that American Express uses
Additionally, as the revamped website went live and experienced performance degradations under high usage, we implemented an aggressive page-caching solution that increased backend response times by two orders of magnitude.
Editors love to use videos to complement long-form articles and increase reader engagement. But to keep readers engaged, speed and quality of streaming is of paramount importance, which is why the company sought to utilize an experienced partner who knows the ins and outs of video-on-demand delivery.
The challenge was to pick the right vendor. There are my providers on the market, each with a different philosophy of doing things. But what the client needed was a solution that we could integrate via REST APIs, and which could fetch massive video files back and forth between cloud storage services.
So we identified the right vendor, developed a quick proof-of-concept solution to test it, and then integrated the service into the content management system that the website uses.
The videos are transcoded into multiple resolutions and formats, placed in cloud storage, and served worldwide while achieving maximum performance with a content delivery network (CDN).
The editors couldn't be more happy with the solution they now have.
Newsletters are a popular way of staying in touch with the media we love. American Express already has a massive database of subscribers, as well as a cloud solution they use to send out newsletters.
It was important that the website integrates with them so that everybody who wants to receive updates about new articles won’t miss out.
The challenge was primarily technical and involved building a bridge between the agile, modern content management system on which Departures runs, and a massive legacy technology stack that powers the subscriber database.
We were able to conquer various obstacles along the way and strike down problems whenever they arose to make sure that every mailing list subscriber would have a smooth, pleasant experience.
Creating a luxury travel publication for the web is in itself an ambitious endeavor. But making the page load “within a blink of an eye” is what makes the difference between competitors in this day and age of endless supplies of content.
While the website did initially perform well, an increase in traffic brought down response times outside of tolerable ranges.
To address that, we implemented a very aggressive strategy of caching all the site’s pages. That sounds easy enough, except for the fact that the website looks differently between random visitors and logged-in AMEX card-holders. We also had to solve for people who come to the website via referral link, and again should see certain content that other visitors should not.
So the Colladeo team worked tirelessly to make all this possible, and improved page response times by two orders of magnitude. Often you can't tell that you are visiting a dynamically generated website – it loads in the blink of an eye!