We are very pleased to announce the success of our latest development project for our client - the leading learning grid provider Yorkshire and Humber Grid for Learning (YHGfL).
This client has a massive web legacy infrastructure and thousands of regional and national users using more than one website so they made the decision to invest in simplifying down to one user name and password.
We have used a technology called LDAP to allow users to register on the main website and move across to other YHGfL sites using the same username and password.
It’s a sophisticated answer to a simple problem - multiple log ins and passwords. It should make a huge difference to their users’ experience.
Thanks to great project collaboration and time management on both sides, this project was completed on time, on budget and worked first time.
This is what our client Steve Turnbull (YHGFL’s Project Manager) said:
“Simplified Sign-On is a first step for YHGfL towards a fully integrated Single Sign-On. This project was crucial in making our website, running on the eZ Publish platform, ‘talk’ to our LDAP service. The project to integrate eZ Publish with our LDAP system in this way went very smoothly thanks to the close partnership working between EAB and ourselves“
by Belinda Naylor-Stables
Here is the third of 3 blog posts on how to successfully develop a content-managed website.
Web development timescale
Many people think the web developer runs your project. But in many ways the timeliness depends on you, the client – because at every stage of development the developer depends on information and feedback from you. Remember, as a client you may not be able to concentrate on this project 100% of the time. Even if you are a dedicated team, you have administrative tasks, training and the usual daily work that will get in the way. So when you look at the plan, it's not just about what the developer will do - be realistic about the timescales you set yourself.
Don’t be squeezed on testing – a good and experienced developer will allow the requisite amount of time for clients to test functions. Don’t be tempted to try to shorten these times in the project plan – or you are in danger of overrun which your Project Board might find hard to understand. Testing includes the time your testing team need to test and give feedback to the developer, any revisions the developer needs to make, then another user check at your end and hopefully resulting in sign off.
Make sure there is budget and time for training in your new website. If you are taking on a new CMS ensure you have time put aside for personnel training. Ask to see an example chapter of a training manual from potential developers if you want to have a feeling for a CMS. Assess the competence level within your user team and remember that user-friendly content management systems (such as eZ Publish) can be picked up by non-technical staff, but inadequate training will result in poor usage - and possibly spoilt web pages or data - using up your troubleshooting resources unnecessarily.
Belinda Naylor-Stables is a qualified PRINCE2 Practitioner and project manager working on eZ Publish web-based solutions for EAB clients.
For an example of a recent project, read our case study on our online CPD solution for Yorkshire and Humberside Grid for Learning.
by Belinda Naylor-Stables
Here is the second of 3 blog posts on how to successfully develop a content managed website.
Set the goalposts for your web editor
Check that your developer understands the expectations of your web editor: what they expect to be able to change on each web page. From the outset your developer needs to explain clearly to you what can and cannot be achieved in the front end system.
We use the eZ Publish CMS which has a very user-friendly front end system. See our article on Why ezPublish.
For more insight into how eZ Publish works, visit our demo site. You'll need to contact us for a password if you want to try it out for yourself.
Visualise success with a wireframe
If you are unfamiliar with the scope of Content Management Systems technology then you could ask your chosen developer to help you with the specification of a new website. They should be able to produce quick wireframes or other prototypes to show the content of each web page. List the user expectations for each screen - what they expect to see, what they expect to do. This way you can ensure page designs are user-focused.
Our favourite online wireframe tool is MockFlow. It's a cool tool because you can talk over the real-time chat and invite other team members to become editors or viewers. Editors have the ability to make changes to the wireframes, while viewers are limited to reviewing and commenting.
MockFlow is a web app based on the Adobe Flash Platform. Check out sample wireframes at the Mockflow website.
by Belinda Naylor-Stables
Developing a new content-managed website is an exciting project management challenge. Your site developer will have a project manager and it's a good idea as a client to have your in-house project manager too. Here's the first of 3 blogs to help keep your eye on the ball with these tips from an experienced project manager.
Kick off with a great web specification
If your bids or tenders provide a loose specification they will result in a vast range of cost responses – and it will be difficult to judge which web developer meets your needs best. Ideally, involve potential users from the start. Ensure their views are canvassed on what is required even BEFORE you draw up a project brief or tender. This helps you draft a detailed set of requirements and avoid changes further down the line. Changes are worth avoiding because they inevitably add to your costs and possibly reduce what you could achieve within your budget.
Get the design signed off early on and don't allow others to come back on this later. Changes to visual elements may be difficult and costly to implement - adding disproportionately to the cost.
Anticipate problems and use an Issue Log
Once you've decided on your web developer, agree a communication plan before the project begins. Share phone numbers, emails, Skype addresses and holiday dates. Know the different levels of communication that need to go on and who to contact about what. For example, strategic and resource management, project issues and planning, plus user testing and feedback all involve different people at different levels. Collaborative sharing of key project documents works really well for contact list, plan, detailed specification, Risk Register (aspects of the project that could cause difficulties or delays) and Issue Log (the record of issues that arise with a record of how they have been resolved).