Motive8 Website ReDesign & Development

A Complete Website Re-Design and Development, that has Streamlined both Student and Administration Processes.

The Problem


Motive8 is a Bradford based vocational learning centre, the then website the organisation had was in dire need of a front-end redesign. Having a strong and professional online presence was of paramount importance to the organisation, resulting in attracting more students to the learning centre as well as establishing themselves as a competitor to other surrounding centres.
Main Concerns:
  • Non-Responsive Website
  • Limited to No Functionality
  • Poor layout / information architechture
  • No social media presence
  • No support for online dynamic features
  • Relevant / Updated Material Not Being Available Online

My Role


This project was undertaken as a final year university project, therefore all work done was completed soley by myself. Having learnt from previous projects and theory based excercies, understanding how to conduct myself throughout the whole project wasn't as burdensome, but as with all projects there were a few hurdles along the way.
Roles and Responsibilities:
Project Consultant Project Manager UI / UX Designer Front-End Developer Back-End Developer QA Tester


Project Management


The Project Management aspect was the most meticulous and crucial part of this project, it is also where some of the pitfalls of the project were located, and an area in which lessons were learnt from.

A major lesson that was learnt during the project, never as a designer get attachted to initial wireframes / mockups, it was the area that had led to further delays in my project, because of how long I spent on perfecting things that didn't need to be perfected.

Research


The research that was conducted for this project in order to perfectly execute the clients vision of their new solution, was based on the following five methods in addition to others:
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Research
  • Questionnaires & Surveys
  • Action Research
  • Participative Enquiries
  • Competitor Analysis
Based on the above research conducted with the clients, user personas, journeys and flows were then possible to make, resulting in low and high fidelity wireframes. As I knew from past project experiences, poor research and planning will always result in an incomplete or a completely different product the client asked for. As a result, more in-depth research and project planning methodologies were conducted:
  • Functional Requirements
  • MoSCoW Analysis
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Work Break Down Structure
  • Gantt Chart
  • Risk Assessments

"Suliman has a really professional approach to his work, working to targets and deadlines. He made the process of our website really easy with step by step formulation of ideas, wants and needs."

- Melissa Simpson (Director of Motive8)

Understanding the Client


Having completed the research needed to understand the clients business processes, it was time to understand who exactly I am designing and developing for. Collating all the research that was needed and conducting further primary and secondary research with the client, I understood that there were a total of three final end-users of the deliverable required. Potential students, parents / guardians & the learning centre administrators.

Challenges


There were a number of challenges and limitations during the course of this project, time constraints (being an assessed university project, as well as having 2 other module assessments and lectures to do) and knowledge of both front and back-end technologies were some of the contraints placed on the project. The following were other challenges encountered during the project:
  • Renegotiating the initial project plan
  • Managing a complete re-design and development of a website
  • Implementing dynamic features within the website

Challenge #1

The initial project was to create a fully functioning CMS for the organisation, due to time contrainsts this requirement had to be negotiated with the client.

Seeing as though I had a total of 3 months to complete the project within, and also manage my other university modle assessments, the initial project requirements had to be reconsidered with the clients. The challenging aspect of this problem was calmly and professionally discussing the constraints with the clients, justifying my reasons for not persuing the CMS requirement. In the end, I gave the client two options, either a CMS with minimal functionality or a website with a complete re-design that will also accomodate a dynamic online application form, making both students and administrator enrollment processes much easier.
Outcome: A project scope agreement was made outlining exactly what the deliverable will and when it will be delivered, both myself and the client had signed this document, ensuring both parties involved knew exactly what is being developed.

Challenge #2

Completely re-thinking and designing the websites current features as well as creating and implementing new User Experiences for Motive8 end users.

Designing an existing website, analysing what is needed and what isn't, incorporting a new front-end but also accomodating client requirements and needs, were some of the difficulties I came across in the design and development phase. Multiple iterations were made with the low and high fidelity wireframes, prototypes were made in each sprint, each one in more detail, in support of the clients exact requirements. The main challenge was accomodating the clients requirements and needs but also ensuring there was no room for any scope creep.

Challenge #3

Researching, learning and implementing back-end technologies with little to no prior experience.

Understanding my time limitations and how much needed to be done to complete the project successfuly, research had to be done to ensure the right technologies were being used. Initially, the idea was to use the PHP Laravel Framework for the back-end of the website, but only having 4-5 weeks for both the design and development phase, learning, experimenting and implementing this framework didn't seem ideal. Therefore, using PHP and MySQL for the back-end of the website was implemented as prior minimal knowledge and experience had been aquired using both technologies.

Testing


With the design and development phase of the site completed, the testing phase began, with only a limited number of days to complete the entire site testing, front and back-end, I had to divide the testing sections into bitsize chunks in order to check everything off the list.
Testing Sections:
  • Quality Control and Assurance Testing
  • Performance Testing
  • Security Testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Interface Testing
  • Documentation Testing

"Suliman provided us with a website that suits our business with the functionality needed. All in all he made it a pleasant process and really opened our eyes to website design."

- Melissa Simpson (Director of Motive8)

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