- SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) — led by the University of Leicester
- Who they are
- A unique partnership of top UK space universities, industry, government agencies and the investment community dedicated to supporting the growth of UK small businesses, through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies.
- What they do
- SPRINT provides SMEs funded access to top UK space universities expertise to support development of new products and services enabled through space for their core markets. Through connecting with the space innovation ecosystem, its partners and Innovation Advisers, SPRINT helps SMEs find technical and business support to take their business to the next level.
- Nationwide, led out of the University of Leicester and including the universities of Surrey, Southampton, Edinburgh and The Open University.
- Create a new website to provide SPRINT with a digital platform that met its targets to attract SMEs to engage with SPRINT & signpost to 180+ space and space-related capabilities of the partner universities.
Hive IT was commissioned to design and develop a new website for SPRINT which meets the needs of both its participating businesses and the programme. The website requirements were based on needs identified through user stakeholder interviews conducted by our user researcher.
We’ve developed a fresh looking fully content manageable wordpress site for SPRINT with custom components and support for their social media and marketing activities. The site went live after only 3 months of development and has seen a steady increase in engagement with users, working towards delivering the KPI’s set out with the client at the start of the project.
“Hive IT were a joy to work with. Their professionalism, attention to detail and responsiveness were key to ensuring our SPRINT website was delivered to time and budget. With a detailed project plan, agile working and daily communication, everyone involved in the project knew their roles and responsibilities and any issues that arose were addressed swiftly and effectively. I would have no hesitation in working with Hive IT again or recommending them to others.”Lisa Finch, SPRINT Programme Executive, University of Leicester
We started the project in Leicester with SPRINT members and stakeholders, identifying the key users of the site to help us understand in detail who we were redeveloping the website for. We mapped out the journey those users would take, how they would arrive at the site and navigate through. We explored how they would interact with the website to ensure that we could design a user-friendly layout of information to support users’ key goals. Creating a user journey allowed us to produce a site architecture which we could review and discuss with the client.
We also held a dedicated workshop to focus on the “capabilities database search” as this was a key feature of the website. We focused on the vision of the feature, fleshing out its functionality so that the developers had a comprehensive specification for development.
One of the requirements for the project was to produce quarterly reports detailing the website’s performance. In order to be able to analyse the performance, we facilitated a further workshop to define SPRINT’s Key Performance Indicators. Based on their KPIs, we were then able to create unique events through Google Analytics to monitor specific interactions with the site.
With the brand guidelines provided by SPRINT, the next stage was to start designing the site. We created a mood board and concepts for the site, four of which we presented to the client. This was done remotely to save time and ensure that we could capture feedback immediately and undertake iterations quickly. Following further rounds of review and iteration, the final visual design for the site was agreed.
We identified working within WordPress would be beneficial from both a development and client perspective (due to previous experience), and its ability to support the client's immediate and future requirements.
Following the sign off of the designs, each agreed concept was built in HTML and CSS by our front end development team and passed to the software developers to implement. The team were also undertaking standard project tasks around infrastructure and deployment. We had a clear phased approach to development as the client was happy to work in an Agile format, delivering a minimal version of the site to live, then iterating on its functionality. Prior to the project commencing, we had worked with the client to define an iterative feature deployment cycle, meaning as a team, we had a clear overview of the scheduled deliverables.
Development was supported by PHP quality assurance tools and the development team adhered to WordPress code best practices. A full build and deployment pipeline allowed the site to be easily pushed to the development, staging or live environments at any time, allowing us to easily present changes, secure sign off and deploy to live in a controlled fashion. The sites were hosted on WPEngine using the latest version of WordPress.
the finished product
We immensely enjoyed working with the SPRINT team on this project and felt that it was a real testament to successful remote working with our clients. The full website was delivered within three months at the end of June 2019 and can be viewed at www.sprint.ac.uk
For the next two years, we will be monitoring the site on a quarterly basis using the analytics that we have set up to track the site’s performance. A series of reports will be shared with the client so that we can continue to look at ways to iteratively improve and develop the site. In 2020, we will be working with the client again to plan and implement the next phase of work to further enhance the online presence of SPRINT.