Seventeen years ago I was a college student who wrote a thesis on how to use the Internet to help children through adoption. I had volunteered in Brazil for about two years, had fallen in love with the street children, and vowed to make a lasting difference in their lives when I returned.
That thesis won a few business plan competitions, and we launched Adoption.com in my college computer lab. For 11 years I was blessed to help grow Adoption.com into the world’s most-used adoption service.
I was away from Adoption.com for 6 years, but about 6 months ago, I was able to return. During the 6 years I was gone, the Internet changed radically, with new trends such as social media, social networking, video, crowdsourcing, reviews, responsive design, mobile apps, and many others. With 30+ talented team members, we have been working these past few months to re-design and re-develop nearly every aspect of Adoption.com to leverage these trends and other digital opportunities.
Because Adoption.com has more than 4 million pages of content and more than 800,000 registered members, this has been and will continue to be an enormous undertaking. In many ways, re-launching Adoption.com is much harder than launching a new site. For example, our editorial team has needed to review, edit, reformat, and/or delete more than 15 years of existing articles.
On April 17 we will begin to rollout this new Adoption.com digital platform. We are calling this a “digital platform” instead of a “site” because it will also include responsive mobile sites, mobile apps, social media channels and other tools.
We are calling this April 17 rollout our “MVP (Minimum Viable Product) Release.” This means it will include the minimum set of elements we are comfortable including in our first release. This also means there are many sections, pages, and features that are not included in this release and will still be in the old template or will not be launched on April 17. As is standard with MVP releases, there are going to be broken links, bugs, errors, and slow-loading pages. We ask for your understanding and forgiveness.
Over the next few months we will be working as quickly as possible to fix these broken links, bugs, errors, and slow-loading pages. We will also be moving all of the appropriate pages, sections, and features from the old Adoption.com site to the new Adoption.com platform, and will also be adding more than a dozen new features to the platform. For example, in the next couple of months the Adoption.com Forums will be migrating from the old vBulletin platform to a next-generation digital platform that will provide the Adoption.com Community many new ways to connect and support each other.
We encourage you to check Adoption.com regularly as we roll out these changes, and to follow the Elevati.com blog to find out about major updates. (Elevati is the new parent company that operates Adoption.com and other digital platforms.)
If someone came into my home and switched out the remote control for my television, it would take a while to get used to, regardless of how much better designed the new remote is. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this Adoption.com transition will cause you. We ask for your patience through this painful transition period.
Even more, we ask for your feedback so that we can make Adoption.com better. Some people say that sites should not be launched until they are perfect, with no bugs. We have a different point of view. We believe it is impossible for our team to create a perfect platform in a vacuum without the feedback of our members. We believe the best platform can only be created with ideas and input of the members who use it. So, instead of waiting to launch the platform until it is our version of perfect, we’re launching it in an imperfect form, so that you can start giving us feedback much earlier in the process, and so we can build a much better platform together.
We invite you to click on the gray light bulb icon in the bottom right corner of the new Adoption.com pages to let us know of any issues you find with the platform and ideas for how we can make it better. This feedback system allows members to vote on the user suggestions they feel are most important, so we can prioritize our efforts. To help encourage Adoption.com members to submit issues and ideas, we will be sending “I love adoption” t-shirts to the 20 most active members or members who submit the best ideas in this feedback process.
Thank you in advance for your patience and feedback and for being an important part of the Adoption.com Community.
Nathan Gwilliam, CEO
Elevati, LLC, parent company of Adoption.com