In January 2018 the City of Munich contacted us to request a new website for the Alice Bendix Vocational School Centre. Our contact for the duration of the project was the headmaster of the school centre, which is made up of four separate vocational colleges on one campus.
The website was targeted at parents and students, with the purpose of profiling the four colleges, providing information about classes and schedules, and providing an online platform to promote ongoing school projects
We were asked to build a new site using Joomla, since their existing site had been built with Joomla, they were comfortable with this CMS and also because at that time Joomla was the current recommendation of the City of Munich.The website requirements were familiar and straightforward: a modern design, responsive layout and a backend that was intuitive and easy to use for teaching staff.
About the client
The Alice Bendix Vocational School Centre comprises four separate vocational schools, for social care, nutrition, care management and dietetics and is based in the centre of Munich.
This was one of our first experiences working for a public body, and the formal acquisition and tender processes were unfamiliar and confusing at first. At the same time, the school had no prior experience working with an agency, however they were quick to learn and the collaboration with the headmaster of the school centre was friendly and positive.
The implementation was straightforward, encompassing the SP Page Builder, a document management extension, and an extended menu structure to separate the website across the four individual schools. We also organised face-to-face training sessions for the teachers that would later be managing and updating website content.
During the project we learnt a lot about how schools work, their needs as regards a digital platform and the practical challenges they face engaging with projects like this, such as assigning resources and budget.
We also developed a relationship with the City of Munich directly, and were able to enlist their support to allow us to modularise and share the results of this project with other schools in the Munich district, having realised that the requirements of these schools would be similar.
At times it was challenging to work for a school as a client. As a public body they had different priorities and a different approach to the project than we were used to.
Unlike with a commercial client, the school’s priority was teaching, and their website an important, but secondary concern. They were very invested in the project, however it took patience and careful scheduling to ensure regular feedback and update sessions.
Measuring project success
With the help of the City of Munich, a recommendation from the headmaster of Alice Bendix, and a project proposal which we prepared focusing on refactoring the websites of each school to benefit others, this project ultimately led to us building 10 further school websites. Since most of these pages were similar in function and design, we were able to implement them at a fraction of the usual cost, which represented a significant saving for the city of Munich.