Bespoke web-based software application system
The Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) is a government-funded research facility on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus located in Oxfordshire. They required a software application that could manage the whole process – from the initial job applications through to end of project. Secondly, they required a web presence that would appeal to their target audience.www.rc-harwell.ac.uk
Improved efficiency saves the management team approximately four days per month.
The intuitive and easy to use application process makes it easier for scientists to apply.
Bespoke web design and development positions RCaH as the forward-thinking, innovative organisation that it is.
RCaH required a software application to make it easy for scientists to apply to use the facilities at RCaH. They needed to manage this application process closely.
During the project it was found they also needed a new user-friendly website that would attract scientists to use the facility as the base for their research. The old website had grown unwieldly and inflexible, with content difficult to find or out of date.
Applications to use the facility were paper-based and managed using an enormous spreadsheet that had to be populated manually by the Business Support Manager (BSM). This process was complex, time-consuming, prone to error and not secure.
The new website and software application needed to work together seamlessly to give users a great experience that communicated ‘science, research and innovation’.
The old website had grown unwieldy and inflexible, with content difficult to find or out of date.
Web-based software application
Our Oxford-based team created a web-based software application where scientists can manage their application forms. This includes information about their project, the facilities needed, the team and health and safety requirements. We captured requirements from a variety of stakeholders before developing a set of interactive online wireframes to show the layouts and functionality of key pages. This meant that the client had a good idea of how the application would work very early on in the project, where they could offer feedback that we could incorporate into the final system.
The application was built to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). An email is automatically generated and sent to anyone whose data is held on the system, informing them why it is being held and for how long, how it will be stored and processed, and what their rights are.
When the applicant’s request is approved, the system automatically sends an email informing the group leader of the status of the project and, near the end of the project, automatically sends an email one month before the expiry date. Once the expiry date is reached, the names are removed from the system and access to the facilities is denied.
Bespoke web development
We developed a new structure that would make it easy for users to find what they were searching for. We included a list of research publications, and a ‘Subscribe’ function for a newsletter.
Although not part of the original requirement, it became apparent at the design stage that the existing RCaH logo was no longer fit for purpose. In the context of the fresh and innovative new look and feel of the website, it felt outdated and stale. We designed a new logo, which communicates in a simple stylish and scientific way that RCaH is a central node in the science network.
The software application has, quite simply, revolutionised the way RCaH processes its applicants. It has improved the working life of the BSM, and scientists who are applying to work at RCaH have a greatly improved experience.
The Director and staff of RCaH are very pleased with the website. They hope and expect that it will be a worthy shop window to the world-class research and facilities offered by RCaH, and will attract new researchers to come and work at the site in Oxfordshire and beyond.
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