Activ Foundation Custom Software, Website and Intranet Case Study
IBC Digital Services rendered: 13 + year website partner and in that time services and products include;
- Application architecture planning and Information management system / process planning. Project Management
IBC Digital met with the 6 different business units within Activ to determine the information architecture for the Intranet project. IBC Digital then collated the results from the various departments to create the information architecture and wireframes for the Intranet.
IBC Digital used this information to create a functional, non-functional and scoping document which outlined the requirements and architecture for the application. IBC Digital also met with ICT staff members to develop the network architecture plan to ensure that sufficient hardware resources were available to run the Intranet and SharePoint systems without causing any issues.
Project Management using Prince2 Methodology to manage a project from conception to go-live, on time and on budget with successful outcomes.
- Technology and Network Planning
Install and configure SharePoint. IBC Digital worked closely with the Activ Foundation ICT Staff members to design the network infrastructure required to ensure that the system ran smoothly. This included the creation of a staging environment as well as a live environment for SharePoint, Verdi Content Management System and a Microsoft SQL server.
- Workflow processes
Activ Foundation needed a number of different workflows created within SharePoint for the management of controlled documents as well as form requests. IBC Digital reviewed the workflows identified by Activ Foundation to confirm that these workflows could be created within SharePoint. A number or workflows needed to be tweaked to meet the requirements outlined by Activ Foundation and IBC Digital worked closely with Activ Foundation to get the workflow designed in such a way that they worked for the business but also fit into what was possible within SharePoint.
- Tools and content management.
This system is a dynamic, database driven website powered by a content management system, Verdi CMS, with customisations to meet the specific needs of Activ.
- Custom Applications and Software
Online payment system, custom content management system, custom search, custom portal
- Ongoing service and support
Training, manuals and guides, service desk, hosting, digital marketing, ongoing website and software support and maintenance, service plans
Activ Foundation is a not for profit organisation that began in in 1951 by a group of parents who wanted to give their intellectually disabled children a better life. Today Activ Foundation is the largest providers of facilities and assistance to people with disability in Western Australia.
2014 saw Activ go out to tender to find the best provider to meet their current and future web development needs. IBC responded to the tender and once again proved that we were the best organisation to help Activ rebrand its corporate website.
As it had been a number of years since the last rebranding, IBC ran a full series of consultation workshops which included stakeholder workshops, information architecture workshops, wireframe design and review workshops, design briefing sessions and a functional requirements review. These workshops enabled us to ensure that the new website catered to as many users as possible across the different areas managed by Activ.
Based on the workshops, IBC produced wireframes for the new website and ran through these wireframes with Activ for approval before starting the design. The design produced for the Activ website was a responsive design which means that the website would be as easy to use on a mobile as a desktop. This was critical as more users were accessing the Activ website using mobile and tablet devices. As a the Activ site needed to cater for users with a number of different disabilities, the website was required to complies with WCAG 2.0 level AAA or AA, as required.
IBC decided to update the website to the latest version of the Verdi CMS 4.2 during the re-design as this version of Verdi included a number of features not available in Verdi CMS 3.1 such as:
- Full template builder
- Updated WYSIWYG editor
- Integration with the YAF Forum
- Enhanced Events module
- Enhanced functionality to make responsive implementation easier
Activ decided that rather than migrating their exiting content to the new website, they would prefer to rewrite the content to ensure that it was fresh, new and met with the current direction being undertaken by Activ. To help facilitate this IBC held a content writing workshop with Activ to show the importance of content structure in terms of readability, SEO factors, and accessibility.
The resulting website is responsive, conforms to accessibility guidelines WCAG 2.0, includes assistive technologies for the reading of content and documents with all new content that is current and accurate. The website also utilises banner images to focus user’s attention on the people involved in Activ and pushes home the message of what Activ achieves and what it can offer to its clients and supporters.
During consultation sessions it became apparent that the Business Services arm of Activ Foundation had different requirements to the Service side of the business. Business Services is the commercial entity of Activ and had so required their message to be more sales orientated. Rather than trying to retrofit this requirement into the Activ website, IBC recommended the splitting of the websites into two different entities, one for Activ Foundation and one of Activ Business Services.
Activ agreed and a new site was created for the Activ Business Services website which while related to Activ and follows many of its styling has a completely different message and target audience. Activ Business Services now has a website that can be used to sell their extensive range of products and services to corporations and the public.
Activ Intranet 2014
Once the websites were completed and live, IBC turned its attention to helping Activ update their Intranet which was rapidly aging. The new Activ Intranet is powered by Verdi CMS 4.2 to make it easy for Activ staff to manage both the website as well the intranet.
The intranet is hosted locally by Activ Foundation and includes a number of features such as blogs, forums, personalised content and integration with the SharePoint Document Repositories.
IBC Digital, with the help of Reseau, setup Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise for Activ to help them manage the internal documents used by Activ. InfoPath Forms Server was also installed to manage Activ’s electronic forms and workflows. This meant that Activ can start moving away from paper forms and can setup a full workflow for all their forms including setting up approval processes and notifications. E.g. If a user fills in a leave request, a notification is automatically sent to their manager to approve the request. Once the request is approved the user and HR are notified of the approval so that this can be logged and booked in.
Here is an example of the look and functionality of the Activ Intranet
Long Term Website Partners
IBC has enjoyed being Activ Foundation’s online partners since the late 1990’s. Over this time we have helped Activ evolve their online presence to ensure that it met their evolving business needs. To do this we have helped Activ Foundation with a number of website redesigns as well as some function upgrades to ensure that the website remains relevant and useful for Activ Foundation and patrons. The details of which are outlined below.
Software / Application Development
Online Payment System
One of the key features we developed for Activ in 2000 was an online payment system that was used to drive payments for the first City to Surf website. City to Surf was founded in 1975 and is currently one of Western Australia’s largest community sporting events. Prior to 2000 all registrations and payments for the City to Surf were processed manually through paper entry forms. With IBC’s help Activ Foundation launched the first City to Surf website that included an online registration form and payment system. This website allowed participants to quickly and easily access information about events occurring on the day and made the entire registration process much more efficient.
Custom Content Management System
In 2001, the Activ Foundation rebranded its corporate website to match their offline marketing strategy. Activ wanted the ability to update the content themselves and so we developed a basic Content Management System for Activ using ColdFusion. The custom Content Management System allowed Activ to update pages, content, FAQs and news articles on the website which meant that Activ could now keep the website up to date themselves.
Verdi CMS (then called PortalMaster) keeps up with Activ online needs
In 2003 Activ was looking to rebrand their website to keep it up to date with the new trends in the web industry. Rather than just rebranding the website in the custom content management system, IBC migrated Activ to its flagship content management system called PortalMaster. PortalMaster was the earliest version of the Verdi CMS. Over the years Activ have undergone a number of redesigns and each time we migrated Activ to the latest version of Verdi CMS
Portal Website Development
While speaking to parents of children with disabilities, Activ realised that parents found it difficult to find quality information quickly and easily. Having identified this need, IBC made modifications to the custom content management system built for Activ in 2000 and used this as a base for the Parent Portal website. Activ has access to a large number of resources and did not want to have to change and upload all these resources manually through the content management system so IBC developed a method of keeping resources up to date using FTP. To update resources, Activ just connected to the server using FTP and uploaded the database of resources. The system then processed these resources to ensure that the latest version of the resources are displayed to the user. The Parent Portal is maintained by the Activ Library and is still in production today.
Our involvement in these project ranged from providing some sort of sponsorship for the event to developing marketing material or providing an online presence for the campaign. The online presence ranged from a new page on the Activ website to creating a small dedicated microsite to promote the campaign. PortalMaster/ Verdi CMS has the ability to host multiple sites within the one instance and so Activ utilised this functionality to create and manage all the fundraising sites it needed. IBC was also heavily involved with the integrating of the online Activ Library Search with their existing dbTextWorks database. Including this functionality within the website meant that users could search the entire Activ Library online without having to go into Activ or calling Activ to see what resources were available.
IBC Digital are proud to be the online partner of the Activ Foundation. We have had the privilege of not only watching but assisting with the growth of Activ Foundation online over the years and we look forward to continuing our association into the future.