Apr 20 2017

Sparking innovation

Be the Spark Wales

The Welsh Government needed a web site for a campaign that would bring together people with great ideas and facilitate a movement of entrepreneurship and innovation across Wales.

Nine of Wales’s most prominent business leaders are working with the Welsh Government as part of their ‘Be the Spark’ campaign, to bring together forward thinking people throughout various sectors.

The website needed to meet the expectations of the Welsh Government whilst achieving the goals of the nine panel members. As the web design and digital agency for the project, we worked closely with a leading marketing agency who were tasked with implementing the campaign as a whole.

Whilst the initial phase of the project set out the objectives of the movement, it needed to be implemented with the long-term vision for the project in mind. Ultimately the goal is that the project will organically grow a community and culture of innovation across Wales.

Be the Spark Wales

The initial impact of the site had to engage and inform the audience. A prominently displayed video background combined with a video explainer was used to immediately engage the user and introduce the Be the Spark concept. As one of the first sites to implement the new Wales brand, the new website had to adhere to the brand guidelines whilst at the same time finding its own identity. The overall result is a modern, impactful and engaging site that is in line with the expectations of this user group.

With the longer-term goals of the project in mind, engagement with the site was a critical factor in creating traction for the movement going forward. With a diverse range of user groups from business to academia, it was critical to serve content that was pertinent to each type of user. The strategy of the information architecture was to create a clear user journey for each distinct user group, allowing for relevant information to be served and resulting in increased engagement.

The site was built using Drupal 7 which gave the content editors a stable, scalable and easy to use content management system. The site is fully responsive and CSS3/HTML5 compliant. Using CSS3/HTML5 enabled smooth scaling, colour changing image transitions. Flexible and fast loading carousels contributed to the modern, fluid experience.

S8080 are very proud of how the site came together in such a short time and to such a high standard. We look forward to working on future phases of the project and helping to drive innovation and entrepreneurial culture across Wales.

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 23 2017

S8080 launch revamped Wales.com Drupal website

Wales.com

With the recent launch of the exciting new Wales brand, Welsh Government’s Wales.com team wanted to align their website with the clean, confident and outward looking appearance of this new identity.

As well as giving the site a fresh new look, the team wanted to look at other UX and Drupal improvements that would help enhance the user’s experience and re-focus the site.

Wales.com

Although the content on the existing site was sensibly grouped making it easy to navigate, an incredible range and number of articles were hidden away as 3rd level content. A major consideration of the redesign was to surface some of this valuable content at a higher level so it was more immediately visible. This allowed us to present engaging images and articles on the homepage, but meant that we needed to structure the content in a way that still accommodated for the specific audience groups.

Being one of the first sites to utilise the new Wales branding system made it a straightforward task to give the site its clean, fresh appearance. By grouping the content using the brand’s new colour palette, colour based segmentation was used homepage and throughout the site to help the distinct audience groups.

Wales.com

From a technical point of view, the major task was dealing with the amount of content on the existing site. Over 500 pages of content needed to be migrated into the new Drupal structure and styled, without the need for major changes to the mark-up. Our Drupal development team also built a bespoke full browser width multi-tile carousel which works across a range of browsers and devices. This means the site can be enjoyed in its entirety on everything from a desktop PC to an iPhone.

Take a look at the new Wales.com Drupal site here.

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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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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