We are pleased to announce that Altcom now has an office in Glasgow.
Since forming in 1995, we have grown to a team of 17 people working across the UK in Penzance, London and Glasgow.
With clients and staff in Scotland, it made perfect sense for us to have a permanent base in the area. We hope that by introducing a new office in Glasgow, as well as having a great place to work and to meet with clients, we’ll also have the opportunity to meet talented developers from the area.
We are recruiting for a Full Stack Web Developer and DevOps Support Engineer, and are always on the look out for new talent.
The new office is based in Clarkston Town Centre in Glasgow’s South Side. The office has excellent facilities (including super fast broadband) and excellent transport links (it’s a short 5 minute walk to Clarkston train station).
For more information on our new office or if you’d like to visit and meet the team, please do pop us an email: [email protected].
We’ve just completed our second train operating company (TOC) web mobilisation for the new Greater Anglia franchise. We were able to draw on our experience with the ScotRail mobilisation from 2014 to hit the impressively tight deadline for the new franchise “go live”: a deadline set in Cornish granite by the Department for Transport.
Even with experience acquired delivering ScotRail, the Greater Anglia website project was just as challenging but we delivered on time and on budget. You can find out more here.
As 2016 gears up we have been busy with mobile app development. Having released the Falmouth University Open Days app into the app stores before xmas we’ve also been delivering an event management app that integrates with label printers and bar code scanners to allow app based management of events (yes, we did suggest Eventbrite and their excellent offering but it wasn’t suitable).
As lines between apps and websites blur we are finding that the choice of platform for app development becomes an early critical choice in the development lifecycle. With the Falmouth University Open Days app the content and messaging is driven from an administrative console on the website, whereas the event app is native content, with an uploaded CSV file providing the delegate information. Very different app types in content and structure.
Well we’ve been quiet for a while. The reason is we were busy designing and building a national rail website for a country. We will post more on this later but I can say it has been one of the high points of our professional careers and we got to work with some truly exceptional people.
Despite the size, a challenging deadline and the pressure we delivered it on time with a 2am go live fuelled by chocolate, crisps and pizza. Along with the visual design and the backend and interface coding, we provided high availability hosting with a full DR (disaster recovery) across 2 data centres, and a corresponding website and HA cloud hosting solution for a launch offer that attracted thousands of users in a few hours.
Eventually we will get around to adding it to the Projects list.
Given that we spend so much time in London and its environs meeting clients we’ve decided to bite the bullet and set up an office in the capital, in EC1. HQ will remain in Penzance, which as we all know is the centre of the Universe – and we are about to get delivery of fibre-to-the-premises superfast broadband. We will now be looking for London based developers.
In the Spring of 2014 we were commissioned by Trinity Laban Conservatoire to migrate their site from the Umbraco CMS into the Drupal framework. The objective was to create a responsive version of their existing web design that would work across devices, including mobile, and make use of the capabilities that a development framework like Drupal offers. Trinity Laban had considered upgrading to the latest version of Umbraco but their analysis showed it was too restrictive compared to a framework like Drupal.
One of the key challenges was improving the speed of the site. With Umbraco and the hosting environment it sat on the response was sluggish, even over good broadband connections. For the migration a Rackspace cloud hosting solution was selected and altcom configured the server for speed with a technology stack consisting of the Varnish proxy caching server, Memcache and APC running over Apache/PHP/MySQL (all of which were optimised for performance). In addition the responsive image handling altcom delivered as part of the project means that mobile devices dynamically get smaller sized images than PC’s, reducing bandwidth requirements and improving user experience.
We are looking forward to the next phase of the project which will see a new design for the site and deployment of new functionality.
The www.falmouth.ac.uk website that we created has won silver in the 2014 Heist Awards – Marketing in Higher Education, for Best Website.
The Heist Awards for education marketing have evolved over the last 20 years to become the premier measure for marketing in the sector. The annual awards recognise excellence in higher education marketing and attract entries from across the UK.
Event organisers commended the diversity and insight of submissions, noting that 2014 marked a record year for entries. Web Content Manager, Charlotte Tangye and Marketing Manager, Rachel Caunter collected the award on behalf of the University at Manchester’s Palace Hotel on Thursday 10 July.
Catherine Ogilvie, Director of Brand Communications, commented:
We’re thrilled to receive silver. As a specialist arts university it’s vital that our website inspires students and applicants with relevant content, bold design and an intuitive approach – so it’s great to see this recognised on a national level.
The www.visitislesofscilly.com website that we created with Wolf Rock Marketing, Design By Channel and the team at the Isles of Scilly Island’s Partnership has won the British Destinations Website Homepage Award for 2014!
Here are the judges’ comments:
1st Place – Isles of Scilly – www.visitislesofscilly.com
The judges were highly impressed with the sites bold use of photography, along with a comprehensive navigation structure. It was nice to see the use of more photography in use within the sub navigation menus to give the user even more of a feel of the destination. The judges also praised how easy it was to order a brochure, a simple, clear link in the header of the site was an excellent addition and something that so many other sites miss. Further to this, an electronic version of the guide was supplied in a ‘page-turning’ booking format along with a form to order a physical copy. The site performed excellently on a range of devices including iPads and iPhones, ensuring a pleasant experience for the user regardless of the device they’re using. An outstanding winner.
We have been working flat out on a series of web projects designing and building sites for current and new clients. The first to go live was www.visitislesofscilly.com – the new tourism website for the fabulous Scilly Islands. We used the Drupal development platform to deliver the website and it is designed to be responsive not only visually but also delivers tailored assets to mobile and tablet devices (to reduce page load time).
The second project that ran alongside it was the new responsive website for the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, London (see www.ltmuseum.co.uk). This involved upgrading the site from joomla 2.5.x to the latest version of Joomla 3 and creating a completely new responsive design. The first phase is complete and now we are helping to migrate the styling to the massive Collections interface. The shop is run by another company so we are curious to see how it gets interpreted for that.