For the past four months, the Platform Squad at Comic Relief has been working on a content migration from the old Drupal 7 code base to our beautiful new Drupal 8 platform. Anyone who’s been near this blog in the past year will have heard tons about the new platform (available here on Github) – but what today’s post is about is the final stage of the migration, ‘Going Live’.
Drupal 8 at Comic Relief
Over the last year a key objective for the Technology team at Comic Relief has been to build products not websites. Tech Lead, Peter Vanhee, explained in a previous blog post how we’re using Drupal 8 to create a reusable platform product for building campaign websites. Since then the team have been working to deliver another website using the platform codebase and also preparing to open-source the codebase.
We have now opened up this codebase – you can find it here.
Hey, I’m Leigh. I’m a digital designer at Comic Relief and this is my first post for the Comic Relief Tech Blog! I’ve just started working on a new digital storytelling product and thought it might be interesting to blog our journey, through our processes, what’s working, our challenges etc. In this first post I’ll start by giving a little context to the work.
The story so far
Digital storytelling is a technique we have been using to educate people about the issues that Comic Relief supports. Not only to raise awareness about the problems but also talk about where the money goes and celebrate the progress. We have delivered this through films, personal stories, editorial, case studies, photography, infographics, stats, maps, interactive stories and social media takeovers.
Working at Comic Relief has challenges unlike any I’ve experienced in previous roles at startups or agencies. When working in other roles, I’ve known exactly who our ‘target market’ are, what traits our users have and what we believed their biggest needs were, but how do you identify your core user groups when your brand is a national treasure?
‘A lack of women in technology jobs is not just a problem for women, it’s a problem for the whole sector.’
That’s the conclusion reached by the Tech Partnership and Founders 4 Schools, who recently published research into diversity in the sector. Alarmingly, this research also found that only 17% of technology staff are female. Worse still, fewer than 10% of these women are in leadership positions.
Kids are my favourite kind of user. I haven’t yet met a user with more honest feedback than a pre-teen. And there’s no shortage of it: they always seem to have a lot to say for themselves!
This year our tech team created Comic Relief’s third version of a digital interactive story for teachers to use in primary school classrooms – and it’s the best one yet (not that I’m a proud Product Manager or anything).
In my role as Head of Product at Comic Relief I currently have one overarching goal: to embed Product as a way of working. This is in order for Product to provide value to the organisation and it is underpinned by developing a high-performing team.
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?
At Comic Relief, we have 5 core values that we aim to achieve in everything we do; Bold, Creative, Fun, Trustworthy and Engaging. These values can be seen front-and-centre in our campaign activity, but we also embrace these values in how we optimize our digital product offering to ensure that, as well as hitting our campaign targets, we can continue to innovate.
Every Friday at 5pm we have beers in the office. It’s nice, we clink, we pat each other on the back, we ask about plans for the weekend.
One Friday our Head of Design said:
“Hey, who fancies a 10-minute challenge?”