JustinGuitar is one of the internet’s leading resources for learning guitar. Run by UK-based musician and educator Justin Sandercoe, the site features over a thousand free lessons and attracts around 20,000 unique visitors per day. Justin’s lessons have helped aspiring guitarists across the globe for nearly a decade, and his instructional videos have reached over 350 million views on YouTube.
Justin came to IWA with a huge vision for the future of JustinGuitar. The first goal was to update the appearance of the site to a modern, fully-responsive design. The second goal was to streamline the creation of admin-generated content to make it quicker and easier to add new lessons. The third goal was to continually build a solid base for rolling out interactive features that would keep users excited and engaged while learning. The key to making it all happen: Close collaboration, rapid iteration, and working in manageable phases.
A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT
At IWA, we’re committed to a remote work model and believe that physical distance doesn’t mean sacrificing close collaboration. This case is a great example of that idea in practice. Though Justin is based in the UK and our development team was in Helsinki, we had open channels of communication and worked together daily to refine ideas and push the new design forward. This level of collaboration allowed us to rapidly iterate on new features and improvements, and to make sure that the final product was exactly what the customer had in mind.
Aside from the front-end design changes, one of the biggest tasks was to create a flexible admin interface that would allow Justin to easily manage dynamic content on the site. We accomplished this by integrating two open source tools into our solution: Casein, a Content Management System, and CKEditor, a WYSIWYG editor. Without touching a line of code, admins can now create richly-styled lessons, standalone pages, and more.
Another big change is the introduction of user accounts, which adds a new level of interaction to JustinGuitar. Users can now log in to save items, track their learning progress, create personal notes, and leave comments. JustinGuitar’s admins can also set a paywall on specific content, which logged in users can then purchase access to via payment processor Stripe. These user accounts provide value for both sides: Users get access to free tools that aren’t available on other guitar learning sites, while Justin can find creative ways to monetize certain premium content for users.
“I found IWA a pleasure to work with and everything fell into place easier than expected. I had been a little nervous about working with a team overseas but it posed no problems at all with regular Skype meetings and using modern project management tools”, says Justin Sandercoe, the creator and owner of JustinGuitar.com. “The lead developer was flexible enough to handle new ideas as they came up and was forward thinking enough to enable future changes too. I’d highly recommend them for anyone with a web development project that needs a team that delivers high quality work, on time and on budget!”, he continues.
“Many of us, including yours truly, at IWA are hobby musicians so it was a great honor and joy for our team to be chosen by Justin to turn his grand vision into the new JustinGuitar.com. At IWA we are always inspired by projects that have goals beyond financial gains, and Justin’s goal of teaching the world how to play musical instruments is an amazing mission to be supporting”, says Rami Korhonen, the CEO & Co-Founder of IWA who is also the lead singer of the punk rock band Fumble.
With innovative new features already in development, JustinGuitar will continue to shape the future of online guitar education. IWA is truly excited to be part of the journey!
Music / Education
HTML5, CSS3, Ruby on Rails backend, hosted on cloud
6 months from agreement to launch of the new JustinGuitar.com