Earlier this year in May, Lesley Belcher, our ART Chair put together a team of people to re-develop the SmART Ringer website. We are very fortunate to have in our team, Steve Johnson, our IT Consultant who is leading the software development. Along with Steve, we have Rob Parker who was the original SmART Ringer website developer and is giving some invaluable insight into the existing design; Rose Nightingale and Lesley are guiding us on ‘how-it-really-works’ from a practical point of view. I’m helping to pull all of this together!
The SmART Ringer website was developed to support the ART Training Scheme and today it is supporting approximately 6,500 users. The current website architecture is beginning to struggle with this number of users and consequently it is becoming quite slow. We have taken the decision to redesign SmART Ringer so that it will be able to support the expected continual increase in users and at the same time ‘fix’ some of the issues with the current website.
We are planning to develop the new website in five phases and initially it will be completed ‘behind-the-scenes’; a little like a decorating project, most of the work to start with will be in the preparation. This will include ensuring data consistency by the creation of a data dictionary (e.g. what is a person), defining business rules and future proofing. We expect this to create benefits for our other websites (e.g. ringingteachers.org).
The initial release will have no added functionality, but it will have an improved user interface and new database. One of our main aims is for SmART Ringer to be as user driven (self-serviceable) as possible, designing out opportunities for user errors. For our administration team it will also fix a few issues they have to deal with on a day-to-day basis that should be time saving.
Once we have successfully launched our new SmART Ringer website, we are planning new features that will be released in subsequent phases. We expect that these new features will be time saving for both users and administrators:
Is anything missing? We would welcome your ideas on what you would like to see in the new release of Smart Ringer.
We have to date had 3 full day meetings and numerous Skype calls to kick-start the project. We have completed much of the ground work needed to start work on the new website and our current plan is to launch it in early 2020 with subsequent releases later in the year.