Our work

Helping Kiwi communities recover from Cyclone Gabrielle

Cyclone Appeal

Project background

Cyclone Gabrielle was a devastating event for so many communities in Aotearoa New Zealand from Cape Reinga down to the Tararuas and the Wairarapa. As attention turned from the immediate response to the recovery, the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) reached out to Silverstripe to create a Cyclone Gabrielle Appeal website where New Zealanders at home and abroad people could donate to a fund to help those communities and projects who need it the most. 

Project scope

Partnering with Clemenger BBDO, Westpac and Windcave, we were tasked with designing and developing a website using Silverstripe CMS and Silverstripe Cloud that allowed Kiwis to donate.

No one knows our technology better than we do, so we delivered an initial summary of the build and requirements, along with wireframes, to DIA to ensure clarity over the project. Once validated, the requirements and wireframes enabled us to progress to visual design concepts, image procurement and tech stack setup to set the foundation for the road ahead. We then produced a full design, imagery procurement, and built the technology stacks, coding and integrated payment capability with Windcave. 

We utilised the appropriate tools and communication channels that were critical to suit the multi-partner project and were able to stand up a dedicated rapid response team to meet this unprecedented timeframe.

Project challenges

The scope, design and build for this project were all running in parallel with the majority of development occurring out-of-hours. As this website was being launched during a live Prime Minister’s Post-Cabinet Briefing, there was an extra risk of traffic overloading the site and what would be a resulting Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) shutdown. We were able to proactively manage this risk by working with our platform and infrastructure team to pre-scale the servers to a maximum capacity in advance to avoid issues with auto-scaling.  

With any project that is based on tight timeframes, assumptions were made around user experience, which set expectations that were needed to be matched during the development process. Silverstripe’s open communication channels and regular check-ins allowed us to respond to, and meet, these expectations.

Delivering at pace

This was an incredibly important project for New Zealanders that needed to be stood up reliably and quickly. As an Aotearoa-owned and operated business, we were committed to our promised project scope to ensure it was successful. 

With a strong focus on communication, we worked with multiple project partners to develop straight into the production website, by ensuring an IP restricted whitelist to manage who could access the site while it was being developed. 

To deliver this project, Silverstripe took on the roles of designers, content authors, development partners and creators and with a launch time of 4pm, we were able to remove the whitelist and have the website ready to go public at 3.45pm.

Key outcomes

Getting the website to the go-live phase in such a short timeframe was the greatest challenge of this project. However, we then launched our review processes in general look and feel, usability, security and accessibility. 

We continued to make tweaks and changes to functionality, for example increasing visibility of the Call to Action and expanding the value options for donation amounts. In the first week that the website was live, it received more than $300,000 in donation funds.

In our last deployment, we reached 100% of the accessibility standard, a result that Silverstripe is immensely proud of.

Services provided

  • Discovery workshops
  • User experience design
  • User interface design
  • Project management
  • User testing
  • Web development
  • Silverstripe CMS development
  • Managed cloud hosting

Work with us

Whether you’re looking for a project partner who can help you realise your epic digital vision, or you need a hand with your website, we can help. 

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