We were recently approached to volunteer our time for a very noble cause with a very tight deadline- 48 hours to build and launch a landing page for a new initiative called Shield Project. The initiative aims to accelerate the sourcing of urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS frontline staff by aggregating all the disparate PPE campaigns around the UK onto one centralised platform. With an aim as critically important as that, who could say no?
Our biggest challenge was understanding what was feasible over the next two days, considering we had to create a website from scratch, over the weekend with a limited but passionate team.
We worked quickly with the founder of the Shield Project, Rohit Sharma, to create a prioritised backlog. By Saturday evening we had registered the domain name (www.shieldproject.org), set up hosting for the website, created a content management system (CMS), and launched the site live, just in time for a press release to go out on Monday to promote the initiative.
After the initial release and an influx of visitors, we saw an opportunity to do more with the landing page and create a truly useful and potentially life-saving platform. We want to create a solution that brings PPE campaigns, requestors and donors of PPE together into one centralised and co-ordinated effort to boost the UK’s ability to deliver crucial protective gear to our NHS and care home heroes. The platform will provide a curated, vetted and editorially reviewed content to help steer and co-ordinate the national effort.
As Shield Project is a not-for-profit, we understood the need to use off-the-shelf solutions such as Airtable to capture the data from PPE requests and donors, in order to build quickly and affordably. We also asked Netlify, the CMS and hosting platform, if they could offer a free upgrade to “pro” status, thereby giving us access to enhanced functionality to create a better experience.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to tweak the landing page design, launch a News and About Us section and eventually activate the core functionality of the platform in facilitating donation and collection of necessary, life-saving PPE.
A sense of urgency defines the Covid-19 pandemic - the race to develop a vaccine, to flatten the curve, to keep healthcare workers safe and protected with the right equipment. Our ability to move quickly, develop and launch products with speed allowed us to confidently react to an urgent need and help those who work so hard to help us.
A big thank you to Andrew Tennison, Marley Petropoulos, Helen Fuchs, Kaustav Bhattacharya, Nicki Sprinz, Sinx, Mills and all those who have supported this effort and for bringing this opportunity to ustwo at a time when creative and technical talent can truly make a difference to our country in this time of need.