Project update, May 2020
Updates Status report
We are working in the open on the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) redesign project. We plan to write a regular set of posts informing the community of progress made, lessons learned, and sharing project documents and outputs. First, I’ll recap on how we got here and what we’ve done to date.
I’ve been working in the industry for over 20 years and am familiar with W3C. My experience was mostly limited to reading through their accessibility guidelines and occasionally digging into the HTML spec. With their impressive legacy of being founded by the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee, and going on to standardize the tools we build the web with, it’s fair to say this was quite an exciting project opportunity.
We started the sales process by sending questions and followed up with a video call to get to know the W3C team better; this was a great opportunity for Carlos and myself to talk about the project and the strengths of Studio 24, including our belief in building an inclusive web for all. We then submitted a formal proposal, which we considered delivering as HTML but ran out of time with other client commitments. Instead, we sent a PDF proposal.
Initially, I didn’t expect to be shortlisted, given the strong competition for a prestigious contract such as this. But, I’ve always believed in giving opportunities your best shot and happily, after a few rounds of questions and interviews in early 2020, Studio 24 were awarded the contract in late February, and we embarked on redesigning one of the oldest websites on the web! You can read W3C’s news post and Studio 24’s post about the announcement.
We officially started the project in mid-March, which coincided with another major incident in the world. We had planned to visit W3C in the South of France to start the Discovery process in person with their team based at ERCIM; however, fate intervened with the rise of Coronavirus as the world started its steps towards lockdown.
As an agency leader, I have to admit this was a pretty stressful and challenging time. I was trying to work out how to manage my business and team, so my involvement in the project was limited during March and early April. In mid-March our team started working remotely.
Since W3C is a distributed organisation they are well suited to communicating remotely. Our main contacts are based in France and Canada, which works pretty well and so far communications have been very smooth. So in this respect W3C are the perfect client to have during lockdown!
Given external events, the Discovery phase stretched across March and April. This gave us time to talk to W3C and look in-depth at their content, systems and challenges. The team looked at users, design research, the existing technical systems, and different ways content is managed on w3.org.
The Discovery phase wrapped up with the delivery of the Project approach document, which outlines how our team plans to tackle the project. Other documents detailing our research will be published as they are ready.
The team is currently working on user research, reviewing the Information Architecture (IA), and looking at the strategy for choosing a CMS to help W3C manage content. More details will be posted here shortly!
Taking inspiration from people like Brad Frost, we’re working in the open, and have set up this project website to share progress. It also helps us clarify our thoughts and communicate progress to a wider audience.
Although we’ve worked on large, complex projects before, with clients such as Crossrail, UK Parliament and Heathrow Airport, we’re learning lots on a project of this size and scope. One of our company values is honesty, so we’ll aim to share what we learn. There are unique challenges with this project; the team at Studio 24 is excited and determined to do an excellent job for W3C and the community!
We hope you enjoy keeping up to date with progress.