South Essex College - more than just a website
When we won the tender to re-design and re-build the South Essex College website we knew it was going to be a complex task. Like so many Further and Higher Education websites it was not simply a website but a complete marketing tool. And in this instance they wanted to use it to manage all of their course information as well. With many different user types and diverse administrative roles, the front and and backend of the system needed to be enterprise strength. We considered a number of proprietary and open source systems before deciding that Drupal 7 best met the current and anticipated needs. Effectively it was used as a development framework around which we integrated substantial bespoke code.
The system was designed to work across devices, including iPads, iPhones and other mobile platforms.
The website hosting was also a challenge as the need for speed was paramount an and any server would need to take some serious punishment. We handled the commissioning of a cloud server through Rackspace along with the installation and commissioning of the website. Ensuring a seamless transition of DNS from old site to new, with all the gotchas that can involve, meant working closely with the College's excellent IT department.
The next phase of the project is ongoing with new modules and features being added all the time. As a web savvy organisation South Essex College understand that having a website means continuous improvement and development.
Jurassic Coast revamp goes live
Having built the original Jurassic Coast website using the Joomla! open source CMS back in 2006 and maintained it ever since, we were delighted to be asked to carry out a redesign and upgrade of the site in 2012. We migrated the content from Joomla 1.x to Joomla 2.x and created a completely new layout and design to take advantage of all the new Joomla 2.x features plus a number of extensions we'd created.
The website had weathered well since its inception but in web terms 12 months is a long time so after nearly 6 years a refresh was definitely due.
You can read more about it in the project profile.
altcom gets mentioned in The Guardian
The Guardian has featured one of our websites in its higher education section. The story behind the interactive prospectus we built for University College Falmouth (http://your.falmouth.ac.uk) is given by the University's Web Content Manager, Charlotte Tangye, in an interview.
Read the article here:
University Facebook App Launched
altcom designed, built and commissioned a Facebook app for University College Falmouth. it brings the latest news, events and key information out their official Facebook page, and even allows users to search for courses without leaving Facebook.
A key feature is that it is entirely run from the College's own Content Management System so they can change the content it displays. altcom also set up the Page and integrated various other "social" apps that pull in video from their YouTube channel and other data feeds like Twitter.
South West Coast Path Website Launches
The South West Coast Path website rebuild was launched in 2011. Designed and built by altcom it contains altcom's MapMentor online mapping engine which allows complex map based searches and behind the scenes trail management.
A few other features include integration with the Evivo accommodation API, Google Earth flythru's, a Walkfinder tool to help filter and locate walks to find the right ones for you, a "rucksack" to put those walks in for later retrieval and integration with Ordnance Survey maps for printing-off to take with you.
Interactive Prospectus wins Best-in-Class web Award
The interactive digital prospectus altcom created for University College Falmouth has won the Best-in-Class Education Website category in the 2012 Interactive Media Awards.
Check out the site at your.falmouth.ac.uk
1SW Online Mapping Application Launches
The 1SW Adventure Cycle Map has been launched by the South West Protected Landscapes Forum which inlcudes Dartmoor National Parks and the Forestry Commission. The 1SW Adventure Cycle Map is a web mapping application that combines a rich interactive user interface with a Google Maps and a web based GIS system (altcom's MapMentorCMS). The project partnered us with sustainable transport specialists CycleCity Guides who carried out the surveying of thousands of kilometres of trails.
The succesful collaboration on the 1SW Adventure Cycle Map (http://map.1sw.org.uk) means that we will be working with CycleCity Guides on other projects to open up off-road cycling in the UK.
Social Enterprise Web Win
Altcom was recently commissioned to build a new integrated website and CRM (customer Relationship Management) system for RISE. RISE is the voice for South West social enterprise and supports the development of sustainable social enterprises in the region.The basic visual design work was carried out by a social enteprise called COSMIC with the implementation and build being carried out by altcom. The project involved integrating and open source CMS system (Drupal) with CiviCRM, a leading open source customer relationship management package.
altcom wins clinical trials contract
Altcom has been commissioned to provide a web based application and database to run a major national Phase IV Clinical Trial comparing the effects of two common drugs used in the treatment of Chronic Heart Failure. The system will be developed using open source frameworks, including the Postgres open source database. High levels of data security are required andthe system will interface with scanners andother hardware over a secure intranet.
altcom has been looking after the Jurassic Coast website since 2006. Recently the Creative Coast team commissioned artist Nic Rawling (of Paper Cinema ) and altcom to provide an innovative graphic interface to information about the team's work to make the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site the most creative coast in the world.
Launch of readability component and plugin for Joomla
altcom has created a new "Readability" component and plugin for Joomla 1.0 and 1.5. The development came out of discussions with many public sector clients who use the Joomla content management system as the platform for their web presence. They wanted a way to measure the "readability" of their content. The system uses a set of standard algorithms to score each article and create an average score. The score is equivalent to the approximate years of education a reader would have to have had to understand the text. Therefore the lower the score the better.
Web application for epidemiological study launched in Russia
Software to support international collaboration for an epidemiological study into factors affecting heart failure was launched in Russia this week. The project will run across several centres across the European Union and Russian Federation co-ordinated by a UK NHS Trust. The entire system has been developed by altcom using Open Source technologie and runs using a web browser and central database.
University website gets voted to top 10 in the UK
The Times Higher Education people recently commissioned a survey of university wesbites in the UK ,and University College Falmouth's website was voted into the Top 10 best university websites out there (see www.falmouth.ac.uk ) - the exact placing was equal 6th scoring 22 out of a possible 25. Since this is a website designed, built and maintained by altcom. you can guess we are pretty chuffed! The review was carried out by lower sixth-form pupils from three schools in the UK. The sites were assessed on their
- the ease of making contact,
- use of online peer review,
- evidence of their unique role and character, and
- the amount of useful insight into life on campus
The survey aimed to find the best examples of engagement with site visitors and the most effective use of emerging technologies. You can see the full details at the Times Higher Education website.
Finding your browser details
If you've ever commissioned a website or had problems browsing and reported it, the first thing you get asked is a lot of questions about your browser. Thanks to a new web service it is now possible to answer quickly and accurately.
Cool Earth Online Store - Ecommerce addition to international rainforest charity
The international rainforest charity Cool Earth commissioned altcom to create a new shopping cart to handle both physical/shippable goods and virtual products like protected acres and trees. The website is built using the Joomla! content management system but to provide a substantial shopping cart element altcom chose to integrate the Magento e-commerce platform.
London Transport Museum 'Learning' site live
The London Transport Museum, Covent Garden has launched its Learning subsite. Built by altcom using an Open Source content management system, the Learning susbsite integrates with other elements of the LTM site which are delivered by different content management systems. The Learning section of the site is expanding and the new tools provided byaltcom will help the LTM team create more interactive content.
For more information on the project see the Case Study .
Dorset AONB website live
altcom has completed development of the new Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) website. The Dorset AONB is one of a family of 52 protected landscapes in England and Wales. They are nationally and internationally important and receive protection to safeguard their special character and qualities.
altcom wins IMA Web Award - Press Release
PENZANCE, — altcom Limited, an award winning web and software solutions company based in Penzance, Cornwall, has been awarded Outstanding Achievement in Website Development by the Interactive Media Awards™ for its work on the University College Falmouth, UK Website. The honor recognizes that the project met and surpassed the basic standards of excellence that comprise the web’s most professional work. The site was honoured specifically for excellence in the University category.
Cool Earth Design Revamp Goes Live
As part of its ongoing web development for Cool Earth Action, in October 2008 altcom made some significant design changes to the Cool Earth website. These included a move to 1024 pixel wide fixed width format (like the BBC) and addition of various "widgets" to improve navigation. The most important content and navigation still reside within the 800 px width for compatibility with those with old monitors.
DCA website merges with UCF
Following the merger of Dartington College of Arts with University College Falmouth in April 2008, altcom was commissioned to integrate the DCA website content within the UCF content management system. The deadline was set for July 31 2008 and work began in May.
Creating Excellence gets a facelift
The Creating Excellence website - the home for regeneration and renewal info in South West England, has been given a much needed design refresh.
Brasenose College Oxford CMS goes live
One of the oldest and most famous centres of learning in the world, Brasenose College is celebrating 2008 as its 500th year. As one of the leading colleges at Oxford University it decided that it was time to update its web presence and came to altcom to provide a content management system website that it could use to develop its global reach.
Cool Earth sponsor system goes live
A major upgrade to the Cool Earth Action website www.coolearth.org went through without a hitch in November 2007, just in time for the launch of the Co-operative Bank think credit card.
altcom aces year 3 ISO 9001 audit for Software Design & Development Services
In November 2007 altcom underwent an external audit to assess its ISO9001:2000 procedures for "software design and development". This was altcom's 3rd year as an ISO9001 certified company so it was a full 2 day audit by ICRA accredited auditors. altcom Director Dr Andy Jupe set up and oversees the Quality Systems at altcom so was understandably anxious to see whether the systems and procedures that he had put in place were delivering.
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altcom has provided us with technical excellence in the design and build of our website and has delivered this on time and to budget; but more than that their understanding and expertise in harnessing the web as a key business tool for the marketing of the College has... read more
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