As part of our objectives in 2016, we set out to solve a recurring problem at Comic Relief: how can we build an engaging, fast and secure fundraising campaign website – the likes of rednoseday.com and sportrelief.com – in a couple of months? How can we make sure that editors are able to create compelling landing pages that reach their different audiences?
One of the goals we set ourselves for 2016 was the re-architecture of our Fundraising & registrations platform and moving to micro services. The team has been busy on that this year and the work will continue well into 2017 too. Here is a small rundown of our journey so far.
I’m a little late in writing down some thoughts from my Friday at PHP Conference 2016. Fortunately the delay has given me even more to tell you about, as our progress with PHP marches on!
This post is a lightning overview of a couple of conference highlights we’ll be learning from, and our wider progress with PHP & related technology.
One of Comic Relief’s strategic vision is to make the organisation fully Digital and creating a permanent team to make that happen. Suffice to say there has been a lot of focus on the Technology department, and 2015 saw a lot of hiring activity in our department. Here’s a summary of how the teams have shaped up so far:
- A new WebOps team
- Two developers for our Fundraising platform
- A Technical Lead for our Drupal team
- Stronger Drupal team and a new Senior front end developer
- A permanent QA team lead
- Two highly talented Scrum masters
The Engineering team collectively takes care of the development, maintenance, quality and performance of all of Comic Relief’s end-user facing digital properties. We are comprised of WebOps engineers, FROST & Digital Developers and QAs. We endeavour to use the best open source tools and processes appropriate to the teams and constantly evaluate the strength of our products.
We plan ahead to scale our infrastructure to handle exceptional amounts of load during media events and the Night of TV so that our sites stay up and gather maximum donations. We undertake adequate quality control measures with each piece of completed work and ensure it meets the standards of our users. We work closely with Designers and Product Managers who drive the shape of what we build.
Website speed matters. A lot.
Why? Because there’s no point building a beautiful, responsive, touch-friendly site if it can’t load a page before the user decides to leave. Researchshows: 47% of users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Website performance is user experience. As you design and develop a new site, you’ll consider many components of its user experience: layout, hierarchy, intuitiveness, ease of use, and more. Page load time and how fast your site feels is a large part of this user experience and should be weighed equally with the look and feel of it.
What does “headless” mean?
A headless browser is a web browser without a graphical user interface.
Why do it?
It’s really not a question of “why testing is important” but “how can we (developers and testers) do it in better way”. Front end testing doesn’t have to be a slow and painful experience if you utilise the right tool. Instead of going through each page or scenario manually you can write a UI test and integrate it into build process, then run it in the background. It will generate a fail report if something goes wrong. It’s that simple!