May internal training day was the third spent in lockdown, and again the teams were working remotely – although still far from being ‘normal’ it looks like the 93digital team are settling into working from home. As always Friday morning was spent outlining objectives and aims for the day. Here’s what the team set out to achieve:
Our project managers Ellie & Roz began the day by conducting research into creating standardised testing scripts that they can use across projects. In particular this will help with UAT when the site is handed over to the client to introduce them to testing/bug logging – particularly as we’re seeing our clients ask more about this recently.
Overall, this should speed up the UAT process by detailing out the type of tasks our clients should be looking out for whilst conducting their UAT.
For our Head of Design & UX, Nicola, the day began by writing a blog post on understanding the benefits of having design guidelines during a web project. For Fenella, the day also started with research for an upcoming blog post, but this time it was focused on how to align content, UX, & design.
In the afternoon, the design team and the digital account director got together to review and discuss documents they have crafted for clients who are running projects that do not have the budget to allow us to work on crucial discovery tasks.
The aim is to simplify and enhance the process of them providing us with key information about their users.
Good strategic outcomes happen for projects when good information goes in. If there isn’t any budget to undertake user research, we must rely on research undertaken with our clients. If there is no budget for this, we must rely on our clients to undertake this research internally.
Although we would encourage all our clients to go through a deep discovery phase, where the budget isn’t there, we want to provide our clients with the best advice and the benefit of our expertise to help them supply us the information we need to do a good job on their site.
Vic’s aim for the day was to write a step by step guide on how to set up a fresh install of a MacBook with all of the apps, tools and extensions the development team uses. An idea that originated as a result of Vic having to set up several MacBooks in lockdown following an accidental spill. The guide should benefit the team, and any other developers that are setting up MacBooks in the future.
As the guide details how to install all the tools the development team use, it helps the developers to stay consistent and make sure they all use the same setup. It will be a benefit to any new developers in the team as well as other developers who may want to use these tools.
Vic planned to use the rest of the time working on the Terra filtering functionality, as Terra is an ongoing project to rebuild filtering functionality 93digital use within our WordPress themes. Terra will make it easier for 93digital to add and debug dynamic filtering functionality to our websites.
Ahmad continued working on a custom plugin that will allow users to bookmark posts and display them in a dashboard. We needed something similar on a current project, and at the time we had to use an external plugin. As a result, Ahmad decided to create something that is more customised and versatile that the developers can easily use on future client projects.
Overall, the new plugin should make implementing and customising the bookmarking feature easier with more control for the developers.
The primary goal for our Lead Developer Matt was to write a post for the 93digital blog. The article covers the development team’s transition over to developing with Gutenberg and how we have utilised ACF blocks to help make that a quick and smooth transition.
Beyond that, Vic & Matt worked together to derive a basic architecture of the Terra tool Vic is planning to build. As Vic highlighted, the Terra tool will help 93digital developer team quickly integrate custom filtering and pagination into archive pages.
Matt also tested and updated 93digital’s two WordPress plugins: Widget Clone and Animated Typing Effect. It is important to test the plugins with new versions of WordPress to ensure that changes to the core codebase don’t affect the functionality of each plugin. Plus keeping plugins constantly updated helps their ranking with the WordPress plugin repository!
With many websites taking up Gutenberg, we think it’s the future of WordPress. As a result Ibon had spent the day advancing his experience on Gutenberg blocks, to ensure the support we provide for these is of the best quality!
If you’ve been following our internal day updates, you’ll know that we’re making a few changes to our own website – and it’s Jafar who has been looking after this. So on this internal day Jafar carried on working on the 93digital website, and also helped finish off our History of WordPress webpage!
Towards the end of the day, the team reflected on what was achieved:
Ellie and Roz spent the morning conducting research into different ways they could approach the scripts. Whilst many online sources recommended a spreadsheet format, they decided it would be best to utilise our project management software, TeamWork, so everything remained in one centralised hub.
After agreeing on a generalised structure for our scripts project managers split up to start putting it into practice. Ellie began writing a test script for a website with eCommerce functionality, whilst Roz started work on a test script for a website with a members area.
By the end of the day, they had two completed test scripts which provide a solid foundation to build on in future internal days.
The design team held a meeting to make sure everyone was on the same page and to get feedback and input into the onboarding document templates. They discussed how these would fit into our working processes during the early stages of the project and what could be altered to make this a more seamless experience.
The team then split into two groups to consider how the templates would work for two real life projects and identify any areas for improvement or questions that still needed answers. These insights will be used to further refine the documents for future projects.
By the end of the day, Vic had an awesome, detailed 1600 word step-by-step Guide on how to set up a MacBook as a developer! He also did some more planning with the Lead Developer Matt, and progressed the rewrite of Terra.
Ahmad once again made progress, which includes getting the user to ‘bookmark a post’ working. Next steps are going to be:
- remove a bookmark
- display the bookmarked posts
- change into a plugin
- make it pretty!
Matt completed his blog post – watch this space! His discussion with Vic meant that Vic has more clarity on how to approach the build of Terra and what features need to be implemented for the initial release. Plugins are now also updated on WordPress and confirmed to work with the latest version of WordPress (version 5.4.1)
By the end of the day Ibon is becoming an expert in creating and customising Gutenberg blocks from scratch – improving his skills and knowledge even further.
From Jafar, the History of WordPress guide is done, and so were the tweaks to 93digital website!
How does website speed affect UX & conversion rates?
The importance of quality WordPress plugins
Do you have an exciting strategic project coming up that you would like to talk about?