Apr 18 2017

Open for business – Trade and Invest Wales

Trade and Invest Wales

Working with Welsh Government, S8080 were tasked with building a website that showcased the best in business across Wales. Trade and Invest Wales needed to be designed for a global audience to demonstrate Wales as a place of innovation and opportunity.

After producing wireframes for the various sections of the site, S8080 worked closely with the branding agency to advise on the initial designs, before creating a suite of templates based on a user centred design approach.

Trade and Invest Wales

To present a consistent user journey and help audiences prioritise the content, the templates utilise a combination of a grid system of content blocks and a bespoke article view. This gives the user a clear navigation system and sense of place within the site.

The main purpose of the site is to engage the user with the Welsh business success stories. To increase engagement a variety of content types are used throughout the site. The grid system was effective in housing multiple content types including statistics, editorial and video content.

Trade and Invest Wales mobile

With the content primarily B2B, the new Wales brand has been used in a way that’s more appropriate for a business audience. The minimal colour palette, uppercase headings and high quality photography all contribute to the professional, confident appearance. By presenting all the images as double density (Apple Retina display resolution), the quality and impact of the photography is maximised on supported devices.

To give a targeted, personalised experience, the contact section utilises html 5 geolocation technology to customise the user’s experience. With Welsh Government offices around the world, the user is presented with the details for the closest office to their location when making an enquiry.

By engaging the user with great content and offering ways to connect, whether directly or through an event in their area, the site showcases Wales as a great place to do business.

At a time when a global outlook is more important than ever, S8080 are proud to be part of such a critical project for the future of Wales.

Mar 6 2017

New website for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) goes live

PHSO

S8080 recently launched the new site for the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, delivered through the G-Cloud framework.

The redesign and development of the site will help people access PHSO services more easily by structuring the content more clearly through a reworking of their IA. The site also contains an interactive tool that allows users to quickly assess whether they are ready to take their complaint to the Ombudsman. This tool, placed on the homepage helps users understand the complaints process and signposts them to the correct information while helping PHSO filter enquiries that are not quite ready for the complaints procedure.

PHSO iPad Pro

The design had to be sensitive to the user’s emotional state, as at the time they first engage with the service they were likely to be unhappy. By presenting the content clearly and showing them the clear path the complaint process takes, they are immediately helped and given them confidence in the service.

During UX and development, the site has undergone extensive usability and accessibility testing with third party specialist testing agencies. The site was user tested under laboratory conditions and the findings of the usability report assisted the organisation in evolving the experience based on user’s needs and wants. Real-world accessibility testing was undertaken under a variety of conditions so the site and content can be accessed by all.

PHSO mobile website

The website was built with the newly released Drupal 8 content management system. This latest version of Drupal offers many benefits over previous versions including performance improvements, an enhanced administration user experience as well as more control and customisation from a development perspective. In addition to these front-end improvements, using the open-source Drupal 8 CMS also assures a more ‘future-proofed’ website and by extension a greater level of security and performance for both users and their data.

The feedback from the organisation and the site’s users has been overwhelming positive. It’s been a pleasure to work with PHSO, who were highly engaged throughout the UX, creative and development phases. Their enthusiasm and subject expertise helped us understand their objectives and assisted in delivering a site that will make a real difference to its users and the organisation.

Take a look at the new Drupal 8 PHSO website here.

Aug 1 2016

The benefits of the Drupal community and S8080’s maintenance and support

maintenance

 

Drupal is renowned for its flexibility and extensibility, proven by the sheer number of high quality modules available. By using common modules in Drupal deployments, we not only increase functionality quickly and easily, but massively reduce costs whilst benefitting from community security updates. This approach also ensures complete portability for our clients in the future. These are primary reasons why open source solutions are in such high demand.

The Drupal community has an exceptional security team that performs audits and manages the process of communicating their security update findings to module owners.

As an agency of passionate Drupal developers and active Drupal community contributors, every week S8080 get notifications from Drupal on any security releases along with alerts from other specialist tools we use.

These tools monitor all of the Drupal sites that we maintain, to identify all the relevant updates that need to be made to the Drupal core and the modules running on those sites – this ensures nothing is ever missed.

Our ISO/IEC 27001 secure development policies means we have strict protocols in place to ensure our website and online applications are patched quickly and to reduce exposure to any emerging vulnerabilities. When updates need to be made, we prioritise them based on severity and our team will deploy them to the sites that we mange for our clients. Our clients are therefore assured that their Drupal CMS is running the latest and most secure code.

How is Drupal and the modules kept secure?

If you are interested in understanding a bit more on how Drupal’s security team work, then this is a very interesting article: https://www.acquia.com/gb/node/2023186. Their infographic explains the process so well!

Drupal security release infographic

Source: Acquia.com

How does S8080 help the Drupal community keep Drupal secure?

Our Drupal developers are very active in the Drupal development community; it’s common for them to be working on modules and providing updates back to the community. For example, on the 20st April, a commonly used 3rd party module ‘EPSA Crop’ was announced to have a security vulnerability – initially no details were issued to allow the community to react.

This module allows editors to crop the images they upload to their Drupal site, so they don’t have to use third party graphics packages. The owner of this module was no longer available to maintain ESPA Crop, and therefore the central Drupal security team recommended that it should be uninstalled and no longer used. However this would mean that the thousands of sites using the module around the world would suddenly show images uncropped and full-size, causing websites to look terrible – something nobody wants.

This is where s8080 and the Drupal community came into play. We use EPSA Crop to provide an enhancement to the way users manage images in their site, we consider this module to be of importance to us and our clients, so as soon as we were notified of the issue we set about working on a fix for our clients and the whole community.

After quick initial investigations, before the details of the vulnerability were released, we spotted the potential problem and immediately started working on a fix for our Drupal sites and the community as a whole. We deployed the hot fix to the sites that we manage and support to protect them immediately.

Once the official security vulnerability details were released, we were pleased to find that our investigations were correct and we were able to submit our patches / fix to Drupal very early for review by the community. Along with our patches and those of other members of the community, an official fix was released. We then set about the process of updating all of our managed sites with the official fix.

In this particular instance, S8080’s proactive approach to security and our interaction with the Drupal community meant that our managed service clients benefitted from very early protection from potential hacking attempts. And without resorting to making their sites look dreadful by removing the module!

Just as importantly the community and other websites benefited from our work by getting a fix to the module very quickly.

We think this is a great way to work.

Jun 6 2016

Haringey Council. Tottenham Regeneration website

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Haringey Council has ambitious regeneration plans for Tottenham, with schemes underway to address local people’s priorities for more job opportunities, better housing and improved transport links.

As the programme’s momentum grew, a separate website was needed, away from the main Haringey.gov.uk council site, with distinct sections of content for investors and developers, residents and local business audience groups.

The Haringey Council digital communications team had done a lot of thinking around the shape of the IA and the types of content they needed to fulfil their aims and provide a user centred experience. They had decided on the open-source Drupal CMS (with demanding security requirements) and had a well-considered creative brief prepared for our alignment sessions. A perfect start to the project!

Here’s how we designed and developed the council website

  • Evolved their initial Information Architecture (IA) and key user journeys
  • Developed a wireframe paper prototype
  • Created design routes – homepage and lower level pages with rapid prototyping to arrive at the final designs
  • Built accessible and adaptive page templates
  • Set up and configured the core Drupal CMS and implemented the site structure, glueing in the templates and developing the workflow for their publishing team
  • A news system was integrated and XML feeds to display events were set up
  • MailChimp newsletter functionality was embedded
  • Content was loaded and checked and our QA team tested the site ready for soft launch
  • One of our project managers and a Drupal developer spent a day with the Haringey team, training them to use their new Drupal website
  • The site was made live and the Haringey team have a 12-month support contract to help them with Drupal upgrades and site improvements

You can see Haringey Council’s Tottenham Regeneration website at http://tottenham.london/

tottenham-mockup-5

What makes Open Source systems such good value for local government websites?

  • Free – no licence costs for the CMS software
  • Agile and moveable – you are not tied into your web development agency
  • Vast (and fast moving) open-source development communities
  • Modular systems – thousands of 3rd party extensions to further keep costs down
  • Regular security updates by a highly active community
  • Proven functionality – tried and tested by the likes of No.10, The Whitehouse, Heinz…
  • Fully featured – whatever functionality you want on your site, the chances are that there’s already an extension for it

If you’d are considering an open source CMS for your organisation, take a look at our information on Drupal and Umbraco, or contact us for a friendly chat or email info@s8080.com.

tottenham-mockup-2

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Aug 19 2015

Drupal 7 and the release of Drupal 8

Over the past few months we’ve been working with a number of new clients on redeveloping and moving their sites over to Drupal, and with the release of Drupal 8 in the pipeline we’ve been answering questions about Drupal 8 release dates, migration from previous versions of Drupal and more which I wanted to share…

When will Drupal 8 be ready?

Drupal 8 release date has not been announced and is a case of its done when it is done… Here is the official dev cycle.

Our Drupal team (a number of whom are very active in the Drupal community contributing heavily to Drupal) estimate that it will be released early next year.

As Dries (Dries Buytaert is the original creator and project lead of Drupal) says “Drupal 8 will be ready when it’s ready

After release how long does it take to be stable?

From our experience there is a plateau which needs to be reached after the release date of any new version to ensure a secure and robust platform, particularly on more complicated solutions which use numerous modules.

According to Dries, the plateau of productivity for Drupal 7 happened 6-9 months after the release date of the new version, from our experience we agree and think it’s safe to assume a similar timeframe for Drupal 8

SEE: http://buytaert.net/how-i-think-about-drupal-release-date-planning

The reassuring fact is that Drupal has a system in place called LTS (long term support) and generally covers support for the current version and the previous version of Drupal.

SEE Drupal Long term support: https://www.drupal.org/d6-lts-support

Support for Drupal 7 – how long will it be supported?

As the LTS covers the current and previous version, support for Drupal 6 will start to expire when Drupal 8 reaches its LTS release – long past the Drupal 8 release date.

This means that Drupal 7 will be supported for security updates well past the Drupal 9 release date and onwards until Drupal 9 itself reaches a stable LTS release which is estimated to be around 2019+ based on the current release cycle.

What is the upgrade Path from Drupal 7 to 8 and onwards over time?

One of the great new features of Drupal 8 is a vastly improved migration path from previous versions of Drupal, the Drupal community have been working hard to help Drupal 6 site owners upgrade to Drupal 8 now the support will be coming to an end and they have added migration support into the core of Drupal 8 to upgrade from 6/7 as smoothly as possible.

This upgrade path will be present in Drupal 9 as well so that a Drupal 7 site can exists for many years before needing to be upgraded and when that time comes the process should be as smooth as possible. This is significantly better than other CMS’s we work with.

Maintainability – upgrading a site to a new version

The ease of upgrading a site to a new version of Drupal depends largely on how well it is built, a properly built site that is modular in its construction and follows best code practices (which we do and we run code review audits on) will allow each module’s code to be upgraded in isolation and re-integrated into the new Drupal site much easier than a site that has a large spaghetti codebase that has to be recoded from scratch during an upgrade. A little care and attention when building the site means you will always have an upgrade path to follow.

Related Drupal Links: https://www.drupal.org/d6-lts-support

So if we are considering a project now should we develop in Drupal 7 or 8?

This really depends on the complexity of the project and the timings – through the discovery phase of the project we weigh up the pro’s and con’s along with the project time line, modules required and organisation’s objectives and discuss this in some detail.

Fortunately, our team has experienced many upgrades of many different CMS products over the years, we have found Drupal to be a better path for upgrades than some very expensive commercial CMS products, and similarly the rate of release for security patches / updates is excellent.

Drupal 8 is an exciting release, hopefully this post has helped to answer some of your questions.

If you want to see how we’ve helped our clients take a look at our Custom Drupal Development.

 

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Feb 12 2015

How we do agile and lean development projects in our web agency

At S8080 we like to keep things lean and we like to get things done. How exactly do we like to get things done? By sticking to some key principals taken from Prince2 and Agile (why limit yourself to only one project management methodology!)

After the client alignment, UX and creative phase, we’ll have a big kick off session. This ensures that everyone on the team knows the end goal, how it can be achieved and their role in achieving that goal.

User stories and the agile wall

Once all is understood and all questions asked, the team will plan out the project by creating user stories, these are simply cards that contain a specific story, or goal. For example one story may be “As a student, I want to be able to view all books available”. Once all stories have been built up, the team as a whole will estimate how long each story will take to complete.

With all the stories created and work estimated, the team place the cards up onto the Agile wall. Think of the Agile wall as a huge ‘to-do’ list.

As the team work on a story they will pass through several stages from the ‘backlog’ to being ‘accepted / completed’. To ensure this process runs smoothly, the teams will have a quick 5-10 minute stand up in the morning, at these stand ups the team will work though any problems or ‘blockers’ that are stopping them from working.

Iterative approach and sprints

We keep our clients well informed by showcasing our work to date at the end of every iteration / sprint. This is a great opportunity to gather feedback early on in the development process, instead of the big reveal at the end. We couple these showcases with a weekly report, which contains contains a general status, dependencies, risks and any issues.

At the end of each sprint, we will perform a retrospective, this is the opportunity for the team as a whole to suggest how we can make improvements for the next iteration – and usually demolish a pack or two of Welsh cakes.

Because some customers require a fixed scope, time and budget we also provide a Gantt chart, this will contain a detailed list of the functional outputs along with any user testing, security testing, UAT and other dependencies. If there is any additional work to be added to the scope, this is simply dealt with via a change request.

Our key take away points are:

  • Encourage team communication through daily stand ups
  • Encourage team organisation through visible Agile boards
  • Encourage early feedback from the client by introducing end of iteration showcases
  • Encourage team performance with end of iteration retrospectives

Sometimes agencies can get too clogged up in ‘how to do Agile development’ to the letter instead of finding a method that works for them, after all, not all clients, teams and companies are the same.

Feb 4 2015

G-Cloud and open source for public sector

CCS logo

We are delighted to let our existing and potential public sector clients that S8080’s complete set of services is available via the new G-Cloud 6 framework, delivered by the Cabinet Office’s Crown Commercial Service.

The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) works with both departments and organisations across the whole of the public sector to ensure maximum value is extracted from every commercial relationship and improve the quality of service delivery. The CCS goal is to become the “go-to” place for expert commercial and procurement services.

Our G-Cloud services cover specialist public sector open source, Drupal, Umbraco and EPiServer web usability, web design and web development.

 

Working with public sector

We have a long history working with our public sector clients. Before G-Cloud, we spent over 10 years on the COI digital roster working with clients including No.10, Ministry of Justice, Cabinet Office and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Open source software like Drupal and Umbraco has become increasingly important for public sector organisations. Open source means the CMS software is free. This frees up budget for user experience, engaging design and robust, secure functionality.

Whatever features you need, chances are there’s already a free extension for it. Coupled with an agile and iterative development process, this is what makes Open Source systems such good value for public sector clients.

 

Our open source G-Cloud services

Open Source Content Management Systems

Open Source Responsive CMS website – mobile optimised

Open Source Website UX, design and development

Drupal for public sector

Umbraco for public sector  

We can also offer the enterprise level CMS, EPiServer, via G-Cloud

EPiServer for public sector

 

Public sector open source and Drupal case studies

If you would like to find out how open source content management systems like Drupal or Umbraco can help your public sector organisation, or would like to see our public sector open source and Drupal case studies, contact us or email info@s8080.com.

Apr 16 2013

Drupal CMS development for Enterprise Zones Wales

Drupal CMS development for Enterprise Zones Wales - Welsh Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have made the Enterprise Zones Wales site live, it’s been a great project working with the team in Welsh Government over the past few months. The project was a rapid turnaround Drupal CMS deployment focusing on the key 7 enterprise locations in Wales.

  • Drupal CMS
  • Web usability & consultancy
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame design and prototyping
  • Web template development
  • Website accessibility and accessibility testing
  • SEO services & online marketing

Live site: enterprisezones.wales.gov.uk

Mar 21 2013

Business Wales – Welsh Government Drupal web development

Business Wales

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Information architecture
  • Analytics
  • User needs & persona development
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: business.wales.gov.uk

Mar 19 2013

Royal College of Anaesthetists – Drupal web site design

Royal College of Anaesthetists

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Analytics
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.rcoa.ac.uk

Mar 17 2013

Welsh Universities Technocamps – Drupal web site design

Technocamps

  • Designs
  • Website design
  • Website build
  • Templates for your CMS
  • Drupal content management system
  • Drupal custom web development
  • Analytics
  • Information architecture
  • Wire frame development
  • Usability
  • Accessibility

Live site: www.technocamps.com