Design Systems: benefits and challenges

University of Leeds is a large organisation. With over 39,000 students, over 9,000 staff and a web presence consisting of more than 1,500 websites visited by millions of people, our biggest challenges come precisely from this impressive scale. Every design component, every snippet of code, every plugin that we create needs to be stable enough to be rolled out across hundreds of websites.

In 2020, in order to establish a more effective process for managing design and code for the university websites, work on the University of Leeds Design System started. Design system is a relatively new concept. Some of … Read more >

How to Choose the Best Web Content Management System

Web content is a business asset. It’s how your company comes across to the world: to everyone who ever engaged with your brand, and to anyone who ever will. With more and more customers choosing digital channel as their preferred form of engagement, the value of web content cannot be underestimated.

Web content management system (Web CMS) is a software platform that allows companies to store, manage and publish large volumes of web content with relative ease. It’s essentially a house where your web content lives. The system itself doesn’t create quality content – web editors do, but suboptimal Web … Read more >

Hiring Digital Teams Remotely

In March 2017, political analyst and professor of political science Robert Kelly was famously interrupted by his young children during his live BBC interview about South Korea. “BBC Dad,” as he came to be known, desperately tried to keep a straight face as his 4-year-old daughter entered the room, promptly followed by an excited 9-month-old baby and last but not least, their mother. It was an incredibly funny work-from-home moment that received endless messages of support and admiration from working parents around the world.

Fast-forward to now, and you won’t surprise anyone with children making their appearance in work conference … Read more >

Pros and Cons of Content Versioning in WCM

Professional success in creative industries depends heavily on your confidence. With confidence, ideas take shape quickly, projects get delivered, clients are happy. Without confidence, creativity feels like a journey through a cloud of thick fog and produces results that lack clarity and direction.

Early in my career I worked with an experienced, outgoing and remarkably confident creative director Andy Hutchinson, who is now CEO of a brand and design digital agency called Incredible (Leeds, UK). Back then Andy asked me to make minor amends to the web design concept I developed, in response to client feedback. I made the … Read more >

How to Select and Work With a Digital Agency

Selecting a competent, reliable digital agency for a web content management project can be both exciting and daunting. On the one hand, teaming up with an external partner can open up new possibilities, enable innovation and increase sales. On the other hand, if things go wrong and the relationship breaks down half way through the project, the resulting mess can be a very expensive mistake to fix.

In my career I have been involved in dozens of digital agency selections for website redesigns and web content management projects. Whilst some of these projects went over time and over budget, most … Read more >

Investing in Technology: How to Make the Right Choice

Technology is evolving faster than ever. New software products, frameworks, and methodologies emerge all the time, making old platforms and ways of working obsolete. With so many options available that are constantly changing, making the right choice is a challenge. Large, complex organizations usually have procurement processes in place that emphasize due diligence, risk management, and cost-effectiveness. A typical technology selection process looks like this:

  • Needs recognition and validation
  • Requirements gathering
  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Financial analysis and ROI
  • Business case
  • Shortlist
  • RFPs
  • Vendor demonstrations
  • Scoring against the selection criteria
  • Decision making
  • Negotiations and contracts

With all of the steps in the … Read more >

Being Yourself at Work: Notes on Equality and Diversity in Tech

When I got British citizenship in 2010, it felt like winning a lottery. Going through the immigration process was a long, nerve-wrecking and expensive journey, but through hard work and a healthy dose of luck I got through to the finish line when so many people with similar skills didn’t make it. My degree, work experience and age (yes, age) meant that I scored enough points to qualify for Highly Skilled Migrant Programme during the brief time of its existence (2008-2015). Had I been one year older at the time of applying or in a different profession, the stars wouldn’t … Read more >

Ethical dilemmas behind web accessibility compliance

‘I, Daniel Blake’ is a British drama film about a 59-year old widower who worked hard all his life but became unemployable following a sudden heart attack. In order to keep the roof over his head Daniel had to make a claim for employment allowance at the local Job Centre. Despite Daniel’s inability to fill in the online form without help, he is given no alternative ways of completing this application because UK government services are ‘digital by default’.

This heartbreaking scene is a stark illustration of how the internet has become an integral part of our lives, whether we … Read more >

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Web Content Management Projects

There is no shortage of IT projects that ran over time, over budget or under-delivered on value. Managing web CMS projects is hard because it relies on using new unproven technologies, ambiguous terminology, and requires agility in order to accommodate changing requirements. 

Here are some tips that will help you to avoid common mistakes.

Engage with stakeholders and users early and often

In the rush to deliver the project on time, it can be tempting to jump straight into implementation. Whilst this can give a false sense of security early in the project, the risk of not involving the right … Read more >

Digital Project Success Checklist

There is no shortage of high profile digital projects that have run over time, over budget or both. Managing digital projects is hard because it relies on using new unproven technologies, terminology is ambiguous, expectations are high and the desire for constant change of requirements is relentless. 

Digital Project Success Checklist presentation covers the complete project lifecycle from writing the business case to project closure. We’ll cover both traditional methods such as RAID log and RACI model, and new trends in digital project management such as kanban boards, product vs project management  and emotional intelligence.

  • What is a digital project? 
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