Announcing the Arsenal v3 βeta

Arsenal v3 βeta announcement header
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It’s alive!

YOU GUYS! We’ve launched! It’s live!

Arsenal v3 βeta homepage

We’ve received accolades from the highest authorities. See for yourself:

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I mean, it’s not every day that Ron Swanson is moved, that Sean Connery fist pumps, and that Chuck Norris approves.

So, what’s new?

Well, a lot of things are new. Here’s a quick list:

  • A new design, that fits the general Go Media theme
  • Bigger preview images (adios fake boxes)
  • A much better search functionality (adios, custom Google search)
  • A cleaner information architecture
  • A ton of improvements under the hood that make it easier to manage for us
Go Media's Arsenal - Single product page

Why is it labeled a βeta version?

Let’s be perfectly honest, there’s still plenty to be done.

Bug squishing

We launched just over a  week ago. Pardon our dust as we make sure the right tube is plugged into the right socket. We know for sure that there are bugs left out there, as well as a few formatting and display horrors. Found one? Report it! Don’t forget to include a page or product URL, a solid description of the problem, and, if possible, a screenshot. These are elements that are primordial for us to recreate and blast the nasty line of faulty code.

Past order access

While this shouldn’t be an issue for most of you, we’ve heard word of some problems remaining on that front. So we’re working hard at fixing this issue in the coming weeks. The goal is to provide each and every user for a comprehensive spot in their “My Arsenal” area to download all of their past orders. Think of it as your digital library of design weaponry.

Go Media's Arsenal - Order history Go Media's Arsenal - Download page

The Marketplace

We have plans for a better way to feature our contributors. We currently offer products by Maarten Kleyne, Steve Knerem, Dustin Schmieding and Chad Tibbits, among others. Our plans include a fancy contributor profile, listing all of someone’s products, a link to their web presence/portfolio, and more.

Continuous improvements

Once of the main things that didn’t happen with the old Arsenal was continual fine tuning. One of our goals with this new version is to keep improving the platform of the Arsenal. This is valid for both the end user and for the administration of the store.

For instance, take product pages. What if we figure out a better way to organize it, that improves your experience as a customer (and increases conversion rates)? With the old version, this was a royal pain in the rear-end. With our new platform, this won’t be an issue anymore. How about other things, such as newsletter sign-up ability straight from the home page? Or a better link to our freebies? Hey, wait, that last one has already been accomplished! Basically, we want the customer experience to be as flawless as possible.

Little bets

That’s one bit I won’t be able to say too much about, but there are a few fun things that we want to try this year. No matter what, they will translate to amazing goodness for you guys. Stay tuned for more.

Development horror stories

Let’s get real here. The development of the new version of the Arsenal wasn’t an easy ride. If you count me, it spanned three Arsenal managers! Adam Wagner started the project, Liz Hunt took over when he left, and I brought the wrap up after she left. And believe me, these people are far from incompetent. So what happened?

We didn’t work with a good vendor, for one. We trusted the faith of the core development of the Arsenal to people that are seemingly more interested in their product than in custom dev work based on their product. Some of the particularities of how we serve your downloads were at the center of these everlasting problems. Add to that the fact that the vendor is located a dozen time zones away (and nope, not in India by the way), and you get a disastrous result. There was one time in particular at which both Wilson and myself were ready to jump in a plane to express our profound dissatisfaction to the vendor in person.

We also failed at putting pressure on that vendor too. Basically, for some reason, our project management abilities went bust just like the Hinderburg. So from one delay to the next, this project that was originally supposed to take six months in 2012, lasted until January 2014. Not too bright.

Original timeline for the Arsenal v3 - February to July 2012

(we decided to blur out the vendor’s name)

Obviously, that means that we spent a considerable amount of $$$ compared to what we got in return. That being said, it seems there are some lessons that you learn only the hard way.

Development happy stories

There are still good things that came out of this project though. One, we got a decisive helping hand from a little Studio in Indiana. They know who they are, and they can’t be thanked enough for that.

Two, the internal team here also led a a fantastic push to get things wrapped up in the past couple of weeks. I’d like to command Jeff and Bryan for help with the annoying grunt work of content creation and importation. Wilson for the more than late evening spent actually launching the new version, and the continuous guidance through the project. The rest of the Go team also helped tremendously with support, and troubleshooting right before and after launch.

Three, we’d like to thank you, the users, for baring with us during this endless process, and for the amazingly constructive feedback you’ve given us since the soft launch.

That’s a wrap

To recap, pardon our dust as we plug the last couple of things together. Also, if something doesn’t look right, or doesn’t function properly, let us know!

We hope that you enjoy the new Arsenal as much as we do.

About the Author, Simon H.

Hello. My name is Simon. I'm half of the team at Studio Ace of Spade. But, I'm so much more than that. I'm also a photographer, illustrator, web designer, blogger, husband...I could go on. I communicate through creativity of any kind. We should talk.

Discover More by Simon H.

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