It Takes a Village
Collaborating with design partner BLDR to create a digital platform around the movement-inspiring Slay Like a Mother book.
When Katherine Wintsch’s book Slay Like a Mother hit bookshelves in early 2019, a far-flung community of women quickly rallied around it, promoting it as a feisty and encouraging blueprint for modern motherhood.
But fast praise wasn’t enough. Acknowledging the “dragon of self-doubt” that lies deep inside many a mother these days, Katherine wanted to corral the voices that came out in support of her book and create a digital platform for advice and support — tools that, together, could help those women slay the inner beast in more far-reaching ways than the book.
Katherine partnered with Richmond-based digital product agency BLDR to help her realize her vision, and BLDR, long-time friends of Braid, partnered with us to engineer the project from well-thought designs to life.
Together we created a sophisticated web application that not only promotes Katherine’s work, but allows mothers from all walks of life to share their successes (and their failures) in a positive and encouraging community.
Having teamed up together for many projects in the past, we knew we’d make a good pairing for the Slay Like a Mother web application, combining the product management and design experience on BLDR’s side with engineering and user experience power on ours.
“We’re big advocates for specialization,” explains BLDR Co-founder Luke Rabin. “Being able to have some push and pull between what should the product be, and how it is being made, what the constraints are — that just results in a better product.”
Throughout the design phase of the project, Braid was heavily involved in decisions about platform underpinnings, bootstrapping a client-friendly content management experience from a collection of budget-friendly tools, and doing the research to ensure that all of the communication that needed to exist between siloed parts of the resulting system would be possible.
The product in this case — an online community for moms who publish and share their “slays” to encourage each other — required us to create a web application that would be easy for the SLAM team to use and maintain as their community grew.
Because the SLAM team leveraged Airtable for many of their internal business processes, BLDR and Braid agreed to utilize Airtable as the primary content management system for the application. That decision required some heavy lifting on our part (due to the fact that Airtable is not explicitly intended to be used as a production database for applications) involving a custom-built Laravel API that would sit between the SLAM application and Airtable.
This custom built layer intelligently fetches data from and pushes data to Airtable, ensuring that none of Airtable’s API rate limits are hit while simultaneously ensuring that the SLAM team wouldn’t need to worry about adding yet another tool to their toolbox.
The end result of the effort is an easy to manage interface for curating a deep knowledge base of published “slays”. Because the online community is based on the idea of encouragement, content is endorsed by other platform users in the form of a “clap” for other moms’ published slays.
This user voting system is combined with a clever tagging structure which ensures that the greatest weight is given to content authored by women with the greatest expertise in particular domains; for example, posts by doulas or midwives in the realm of birth stories, or posts by women who have experienced miscarriage on the topic of loss.
From the guided onboarding experience, to the delightful “confetti” animation that occurs when a user endorses content, every corner of the application was carefully curated to provide a feeling of positivity and belonging.
Beyond the interface details of the SLAM web application our collaboration with BLDR led to an even stronger partnership. “The Braid team is a pleasure to work with just as people,” says Luke. “Of course there are all the soft things like character and communication, but also, I’ve worked with a lot of engineers, and I was baffled by how fast they worked. And they still paid attention to detail and went above and beyond with expectations.”
“This project was kind of a perfect storm, where SLAM was thankful to have found us, and we were thankful to have found Braid.”
We couldn’t agree more. As our name suggests, we believe we are always better together, and we’re grateful to collaborate with partners near and far in the name of cooperation over competition.