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The new BBS website launched officially on 8th March 2021. This news post is primarily to mark the event and ensure we have a record for the future.
The project started in autumn 2018, with a small team collecting and documenting the requirements for the new site, and getting feedback from Council members and other volunteers. Progress slowed during the summer and autumn of 2019, with the website editors struggling to get to grips with the modern approach to website development. However, by early 2020 we had a shortlist of potential website design & development companies, and arranged to meet a couple in person. We managed this in the nick of time before the whole country was locked down, and appointed Castlegate IT as our developers.
Work commenced in April 2020 with discussions about the website design. Castlegate’s lead designer soon got to grips with what we were looking for and his first prototype was very close to what we ended up with! Discussions continued about how we should organise the new website and the functionality we would need, and the Castlegate team (and us) discovered all sorts of interesting information tucked away in our old website. Towards the end of the summer, the functional requirements were all documented, but there was some delay before development started because of Covid-related problems – delayed holidays, home schooling commitments etc. Development commenced in earnest in September. Meanwhile we continued working on reviewing the pages on our old website, reorganising and updating it in readiness for uploading to the new website. And – as some of you know – asking various people to update relevant parts of the website like the vice-county pages.
Finally, shortly before Christmas 2020, we were given access to our new website – and then our work began in earnest. We had hundreds of pages of content to upload. Inevitably there were some issues with the way the website was working and we worked closely with the Castlegate project manager and developer to resolve these. By early February 2021, much of this was done and we decided to ask a few people to review and check the website to make sure there weren’t too many problems or anything we’d overlooked. By mid February, just about all the content was uploaded, and it was time to think about the launch. One final check through the page content from us to ensure that everything was up to date, then over to Castlegate to do the technical stuff. If you are reading this, then hopefully it means that everything went according to plan!
We would like to thank everyone involved in this project, from the many people who read our specifications and provided feedback in the early stages; Nick Law and Brad Scott who gave advice on selecting a website developer; Sharon Pilkington who helped with the content review and transfer, much of this in her own time; the many regional recorders who provided updated accounts for their vice-counties and those who checked and gave feedback on the website prior to launch.
Last, but not least, we would like to thank the Castlegate team, particularly Louisa Machado (project manager), Sunny Simmons (lead designer) and Sam Sutcliffe (developer), for their hard work, dedication and professionalism. They promised that we would work as a team to build the best website possible, and we think (and hope you agree) that we have achieved this.
Claire Halpin and Ambroise Baker (website editors)
Published: 8 March 2021