Back in 2009 The Open University's Faculty of Business and Law had four different websites (and content management systems) for the Business School, Law School, Alumni, and Research. The Faculty decided to replace these four websites with a single 'needs-based' website, hosted and managed internally; and due to our involvement in the successful launch of their Global MBA pilot website they hired Muon to do the job.
Project Unite stakeholders met with project managers, a graphic designer and Muon's developer on a weekly basis. The stakeholders included Faculty Directors, content owners for the four websites, and senior representatives from The Open University's Online Communications, Student Services, Marketing and IT departments. Faculty Directors wanted distinctive designs and brand colours for Business and Law, while Online Communications wanted to ensure consistency with other faculty sites and the university as a whole. The website owners were concerned that their content could be lost in a combined information architecture and they wanted to ensure they did not lose any functionality either, while the IT department wanted to keep custom code and non-core Drupal modules to a minimum. Reproducing existing functionality and adding new functionality in a restricted development environment was the key challenge for our developer and he acted as a technical go-between on the project with the difficult task of keeping all stakeholders happy.
Our developer initially worked onsite at The Open University to take part in meetings and work closely with all Project Unite stakeholders. He wrote a Functional and Technical Specification for the project, he was involved in card sorting sessions to develop the site's information architecture, and he worked with a graphic designer to finetune prototypes and turn the final designs into content managed web pages.
We took a phased approach to migrating content and data from the four websites into one Drupal 6 site in the following order, where all releases were tested by stakeholders on acceptance test servers before launch:
Following the launch of the complete website (www.open.ac.uk/business-school) we delivered a comprehensive user guide for authors, editors and website administrators in 2012 and migrated the site to Drupal 7 in 2013. We continue to support and develop the site to this day.
Project Unite had fallen into disarray and had a range of complexities for Muon to tackle, but working together we managed to create one unified site that could externally and internally represent the OU's Faculty of Business and Law.