With the London lockdown still in place, April internal day was once again completely remote, but the team stayed productive as always & even managed to transfer the traditional lunch time games on internal day into a Slack channel #93digitaltrainingdaygamesroom! In April we also welcomed a new team member – Ahmad, more from him in a few weeks time.
For now, here’s what the team got up to on the 24th of April 2020:
Charlie began the day with the objective of creating a document that the 93digital team can give to their clients, serving as a central repository for links to all discovery & definition work that has been agreed between the client and the 93digital team.
Given the vast amount of research the 93digital team conducts in the discovery & definition phase of a web design & development project, we output a lot of documentation. Our current process is to drip feed the client with research, sending them the relevant links to documents, spreadsheets, or diagrams. Whilst we manage our documentation on software like Teamwork, we have no way of knowing how our clients do so. And, whilst this is technically not our responsibility, the research that we provide will often get shared with multiple stakeholders, other than our main point of contact.
As such, creating a central document for all potential stakeholders gives our clients a broad overview of the project status, and allows them to quickly refer to research documents without having to read through documentation unnecessary to them.
Most significantly, this exercise should increase transparency. Not only between 93digital and the client, but with the client internally.
Given this, we’d hope this document caters to, and aids the understanding of stakeholders who are likely to enter into the project at a later time – other than our main points of contact.
For our Designer Fenella the key during this April internal training day was to kick start the brief for the redesign of the 93digital news, blog & resources hub! The aim by the end of the day? To have redesigned the single post template and to make a start on the content hub page.
If you’ve been following our site, you may have noticed that content has been increasing rapidly, therefore a redesign is necessary to increase the usability of the news page and showcase all the great content we’re producing. This will allow you, the user to easily access the content via a filter and enterprise search system. The resources will be combined with the news/blog to create a content hub so that you can find it all in one place.
As the saying goes, ‘Content is King’ in the B2B marketing space, and so as a result, many of our clients require a strong content hub as part of their project. Designing and building a new content hub for the 93digital website can serve as one example of what the 93digital team can do. Specifically demonstrating the different features of the content hub which aid usability and enhance the UI/UX of the site!
Similarly to our March internal day, some of the team spent the morning half of their internal day creating blog content and sharing their expertise! The subject this time around for our Project Director Graham? Communication under lockdown.
There was also discussion around retrospectives. To ensure we are constantly improving, it’s a worthy task to take time & reflect on our current processes. As a result, the project management team used the internal day as opportunity to discuss what worked/didn’t work so well on projects. Particularly as there are a few projects coming to close, now felt like a good time to chat through/amend and draft the retrospectives for a few of our clients.
This month Ellie also began her internal day with a focus on content writing. Ellie focused on assessing how Simon Sinek’s theory of The Golden Circle could be applied to a website project? In the second part of the day, alongside our Project Director Graham, Ellie focused on the ‘retrospectives’, in particular going through the template to see if/how it can be improved!
Last time around, during the March internal training day, the project managers worked through a template to aid content migration processes and the collection of relevant data to make any manual content migration processes in the future simpler. So, for this month’s internal training day, Roz decided she wanted to run a test of the process the project managers set up to make sure it worked/eke out any issues or queries that may arise.
Mapping out manual content migrations is a time consuming process. Having the time to do a straight migration mapping on a working day, unimpeded can be tricky! Using the internal day today allowed Roz to work through it from beginning to end to try and find where elements could be improved in our system. More broadly, this should improve the way the 93digital team approach content migrations in the future and provide a blueprint for the process and documentation required.
There are a vast number of new and exciting changes we are planning to make to the way we do development at 93digital and so our Lead Developer Matt is kick-starting some of the higher priority changes that we are starting to implement. First on the agenda? A chat with Vic to strategise on best practice of producing a generic migration tool/plugin which will vastly reduce the amount of time it takes to create customer migration scripts. Matt then focused on updating 93digital two WordPress plugins which are available in the WordPress plugin directory. Matt focused on building a methodology to ensure all plugins are up to date, and it lays the groundwork for expanding our suite of plugins. Aim is to ensure we can easily maintain these regularly going forward, as an update was a little overdue! Last focus of the day was on further advancing Gutenberg block work.
Vic’s aim was to progress with the rewrite of a class in our theme which controls how dynamic filtering and content loading works in archive pages/modules. It’s a great class that the dev team use often, it loads content via AJAX and is all-in-all a very good tool, however it’s very bulky and often very difficult to debug or extend. So the aim is to rewrite it in a more logical way, to split bits of functionality into more manageable parts, and along the way update and streamline aspects of it. In the long-run this should make it easier for the dev team to implement and debug the tool as well as extend functionality or make alterations to it on a project basis.
Earlier in the week Jafar had a code review with Andrew to ensure all coding is in line with the 93digital coding standards. As a result, alongside writing a blog post, Jafar took some time during the internal day to focus on looking at areas for improvements and making sure the code meets the 93digital coding standards. This ensures that in the long run, all developers at 93digital are on the same page when it comes to coding standards. Furthermore, it assures the client that in the future, their website will be easy for other developers to pick up if need be.
Having only recently joined the 93digital team, this was the first full internal day for Ahmad. The morning was part of the day started for Ahmad much like it did for Roz, Ellie, and Graham – creating a great content piece for the 93digital blog. In the second part of the day, Ahmad’s aim was to create a custom feature to add to the starter theme. The feature will allow users to bookmark posts and display them separately. Recently, we needed something similar on a client project we’re working on and at that time having to use an external plug-in. But, Ahmad is keen to create something more customised and versatile for our clients, making the implementation and customization of the bookmarking feature much easier, with more control!
As the day approached a close, we checked in with the teams:
Towards the end of the day Charlie had a fully editable spreadsheet that could be used to centre the research during the discovery & definition stage of a project. The spreadsheet contained:
- Research types
- A succinct description allowing readers to understand exactly what they are going to view
- A link to research item, or a ‘To be supplied by DD/MM/YYYY’ note
During the day, Fenella has designed a single post template with further research and inspiration for the 93digital content hub landing page. Fenella is also starting to put together a moodboard, looking at different features of other sites.
The day ended for Graham with a Retrospective draft on file for one of our clients, and a revision to retrospective template discussed, and of course a blog post!
The day ended for Ellie with a complete blog article (watch this space!) and a work-in-progress updated retrospective template.
It was a good day for Roz! She was able to test the system and generate a top level content migration plan far simpler than previously. Although Roz mentioned that there’s still some work which needs considering, overall she’s pretty happy!
For Matt the day was super busy and productive! Here’s a summary:
- Productive chat with Vic at the start of the day ensured the day ended with a unified vision of how they want to approach the internal migration project
- Both WordPress plugins were tested and are now fully up to date. He also learnt the process for registering a plugin on the official WordPress Plugin directory and the process involved in submitting an official update to a plugin! Here they are:
- Sadly, the day ran away just before Matt had the chance to touch on any Gutenberg block work – one for our May Internal Day in that case!
By the end of the day, Vic was able to take the class which was originally over 1500 lines long, and split it into three classes, each responsible for a specific chunk of functionality, improving his understanding of its inner workings, and how it’s put together!
The custom feature allowing users to bookmark posts and display them separately is a work-in-progress from Ahamd – so watch this space!
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