Mashbo Reveals Modular Development Project with Centre for Alternative Technology
Software development company, Mashbo, has revealed how its modular development approach has revolutionised website management for the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), a Mid Wales based educational charity dedicated to researching and communicating positive solutions for environmental change.
Mashbo was appointed to deliver “one brand, one website, one voice”, refreshing and streamlining the organisation’s sprawling online presence, as well as upgrading the outdated software that its websites were built on. CAT’s digital properties comprised a main website, multiple subsites and a host of sub-brands. The fragmented digital properties had become unmanageable for CAT’s team and a challenge for its audiences to navigate.
In the first stage of the project, Mashbo refreshed the existing CAT brand, modernising its appearance, typography and colour palette and bringing all of CAT’s subsites under one overarching brand.
Using a futureproof modular development approach, Mashbo’s team then identified how the new website design could be broken down from page templates, into smaller components, or ‘blocks’, creating a bespoke system that would be easy-to-use and provide the client with greater control over page layouts.
Speaking of the project, Gavin Sherratt, Managing Director at Mashbo, said: “Even after streamlining the organisation’s websites and sitemap, the sheer volume of content meant that a traditional development approach would have required the creation of 30 - 40 bespoke, static page templates. This would have been a lengthy and very costly process that would not have given CAT the flexibility to add new pages and sections as the organisation scales.”
Taking the new modular development approach, which aligns with the recent Gutenberg update from Wordpress, Mashbo created three simple templates, one with a header and footer, another with header, footer and a basic text content layout and a third for blog posts with images and social sharing links.
The team then created 40 content ‘blocks’, manageable content chunks that could be reused in any arrangement within the basic templates, by simply dragging and dropping them into position, also adding customisation options that in the past would have required hard code changes by developers.
The cost-effective and future proof solution has provided CAT with a content management system (CMS) that now allows the easy upload of content and the simple development of new pages by any trained staff member, without the need to use developer time and resource for day-to-day changes.
Catriona Toms, External Relations Manager at CAT, said: “We selected Mashbo based on its expertise in design and also developing complex Wordpress sites, as well as its adaptable and collaborative approach.
“From the very start of the project, Mashbo just ‘got it’. The team took the time to understand what CAT is about, meet with our team and experience our physical site. From that they were able to find a nice line through our sites, to bring all of our subsites under one, fresher looking and more reflective brand.”
“The new website delivers perfectly on our brief to create one website, with one brand and one voice. It is much easier to navigate and we have been told by users that it is now much faster and easier to find what they are looking for on the site. What’s more, our in-house team is now able to update and develop our site quicker and more efficiently.”
Since the site’s launch in February 2019, the team at CAT has received excellent feedback from users and the simplified navigation has made it much easier to track user journeys and obtain accurate analytics.