Radically Open Learning Platform

When your business relies on teaching at in-person events, a global pandemic can either be a threat to your business or an opportunity.

In 2020 Radically Open adapted to the changes happening around them. Their in-person events transformed into online webinars and in 2020 they launched an online learning platform. Built quickly to meet their needs at the time, the limitations of the platform and its separation from the 2017 version of the Radically Open website we built, became apparent as its popularity grew.

A Bespoke Reunification

Running two WordPress driven websites, rather than one wasn’t a viable long-term solution and something needed to change. After numerous discussions, the result was to develop a single bespoke platform that serves all of Radically Open’s users.

With a bulky WordPress solution, the learning platform was increasingly restrictive to the needs of Radically Open. On numerous occasions issues with plugins at best restricted users’ ability to buy and at worst brought the entire site down.

A bespoke solution, something we excel at, would provide the freedom to customise the platform as required today and in the future as the business grows.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it

Though such an extensive rebuild would be the perfect opportunity to redesign the website, this was never on the mind of Radically Open. Except for some necessary tweaking to suit new functionality the design of the new website largely remains the same as its predecessor.

However, if we’re to deliver a website that will grow with the business we’re never going to simply copy and paste code from a 5-year-old website. With new technologies, new ideas and better knowledge we rebuilt the website to be faster, more lightweight and user friendly whilst maintaining the same look and feel.

Where we could focus our designers attention was within the learning platform; called My Radically Open. With the design and layout of the old platform largely dictated by the authors of the Learndash plugin we had the opportunity to create a solution specifically suited to the particular needs of the client.

Lots to do

Building an online learning platform with courses, lessons, quizzes and certification from the ground up would be a challenge in itself. Lessons must be completed in a fixed order; users must score a particular percentage to continue and completed courses award the user certificates and points.

Courses don’t come for free either, so there’s e-commerce functionality tied in that grants access to the (sometimes multiple) courses purchased.

Alone this would be quite a sizable build, but Radically Open also offers their courses in multiple languages for purchase around the globe. Though a fully multi-lingual website was out of scope we needed to deliver translated products and courses, replacing the English version only when a translation exists, otherwise showing the English original.

Selling around the world also introduces the issue of local tax rules. By integrating with third-party service Quaderno we’re able to ensure every sale is compliant.

Uninterrupted service… mostly

Moving to an entirely new platforms is a big job, made that bit more challenging when you have complex user data to migrate too. Understanding this challenge, it was important to confirm that we could get this data processed and migrated, making this one of our first tasks on the project.

It was pleasing to see how much data we were able to migrate, with user passwords one piece of data we requested users reset on first visit to the new website.

Due to this preparation the launch of the new website progressed faster than expected, with users quickly up to speed with the new website.

I just want to add my thanks – I am really impressed with the job you’ve done. I love the look (the fact that it doesn’t look that different!) and that it’s so much easier to navigate – yet contains all the information we need to communicate to anyone new to RO DBT as well as all the details of the learning platform for our students.

We really appreciate your openness to feedback and your responsiveness to questions and requests – and I feel confident that you can support us as we grow the business – thanks so much for everything.

Erica Smith-Lynch

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