Oct 13 2016

S8080 now a Registered Umbraco Partner

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After working with the Umbraco CMS for many years, we are proud to announce that S8080 are now a Registered Umbraco partner. Being a registered Umbraco partner helps us keep to the forefront of the latest Umbraco developments.

Our experienced team of Umbraco developers have delivered many high profile and complex .NET based websites for public sector and private sector clients including the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), HM Cabinet Office, CITB Construction Skills and Ministry of Justice.

Umbraco is one of the most popular Web Content Management Systems on the Microsoft .NET platform. It’s open source, meaning you don’t need to pay licensing costs. It’s also a very powerful and yet easy to learn CMS that is highly extensible.

It’s great to be part of the Umbraco family and we look forward to working with Umbraco over the coming years.

 

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/

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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.

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May 24 2016

S8080 help Nottingham City Council with new Umbraco website

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When Nottingham City Council appointed us via G-Cloud, we were delighted to learn that they had chosen Umbraco, the open-source CMS, to develop their new online self-service platform.

As an agency, our public sector clients tend to request either Drupal or Umbraco. The Council had spent time during their discovery phase investigating the suitable platforms for a large, busy local government website and Umbraco matched their requirements exactly.

Channel shift is becoming increasingly important for local government as digital transformation strategies are being realised in order to improve customer access to council services. Umbraco (and Drupal) are both powerful and flexible enough for the most demanding council and open source means they don’t pay a single penny for the software. This frees up budgets for the important stuff: user experience (UX), engaging designing and robust, secure functionality.

Nottingham city council Umbraco website mobile

As well as the obvious cost benefits of digital self-service, modern local authority content management systems allow a mobile first approach. This means users can undertake online transactions like arranging waste collections or making planning applications using their phones or tablets as well as their laptops and computers, making life easier for users and the Council. From the outset, our brief was to create a “great looking”, user-friendly, customer centred experience that could stand up against the very best local government websites in the UK. Here’s how we designed and developed the Council website:

  • We co-designed a clear top-task focused homepage
  • We broke down the content into compartmentalised areas to simplify the information
  • The Council’s brand colours were used consistently for content hierarchy
  • We developed a user-friendly column based dropdown navigation
  • The site was designed to be extremely accessible and fast to use
  • The CMS platform was specifically designed to enable the Council to add their own micro-sites
  • The mobile first templates we developed and tested across multiple devices
  • Our Umbraco technical developers Implemented Nottingham City Council’s preferred search solution provided by Funnelback
  • We created a suite of content blocks in which to build the content pages
  • We made it super easy for the Council’s in-house team to further develop the site by componentising and templating the functionality so it can be updated separately
  • We set up the server architecture and deployed the website which  is hosted on Microsoft Azures’ scalable cloud hosting platform
  • We will be providing ongoing maintenance and support, but typically 3rd level technical Umbraco expertise, so the day to day support on the website will be handled by Nottingham City Councils IT team

To find out how your organisation can use an open-source content management system for customer centred digital transformation, take a look at Umbraco and Drupal – two extremely capable and extensible CMS’s.

 

Nottingham city council Umbraco website screens

 

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May 21 2015

S8080’s information security standard ISO/IEC 27001

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Early last year, after completing yet another information security questionnaire as part of a public sector website tender, we made the decision to add ISO/IEC 27001 certification to our suite of ‘ISO’s’.

We currently hold 9001 for quality management, 14001 for environmental management and 18001 for occupational health and safety management. These combine into what is called an Integrated Management System and every year we are audited over a period of several days to make sure we comply with each of these strict international standards.

27001 is the best-known standard for providing a detailed set of bullet-proof requirements for an information security management system (ISMS).

During our day-to-day activities, developing websites for our clients and performing our general ‘running a busy business’ duties, we interact with a variety of information assets, with various degrees of confidentiality. Our 27001 ISMS helps us manage these information assets providing assurance of its confidentiality, integrity and availability.

As we have been working with high profile public sector clients for about 15 years, it turned out we had most of what we needed for 27001 already in place. We just needed to spend time formalising all of the policies and procedure to satisfy the audit team.

We passed with flying colours and received our certificate last month.

Why is this important?

We’ve gone to great lengths to ensure confidential things stay confidential.

Everything from the secure coding standards we work to, how our network infrastructure is designed and monitored, our hosting and our disaster recovery plans, through to how our team use mobile devices for their S8080 email accounts has been considered, risk-assessed and hardened.

It’s all a bit James Bond, but it means our clients have one less thing to worry about.

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

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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.