After many months of development, we have finally reached the first round of UAT testing on our latest Moodle site. It always feels good to get to the UAT stage, even if the client returns with a bug list or change requests. The whole point of the UAT is exactly that.
Truth be told I never thought we would even get to a UAT cycle with the client. The relationship started off a bit rocky. Anyone who has every worked with me knows that’s pretty much par for the course.
For anyone who has not worked with me, there are two truths you should know:
- I am a difficult person to work with, and
- My team and I will deliver
I recall siting in the client’s boardroom opposite the company directory. Just as the meeting is about to start, he leans towards me and asks, “Are you the guy that told us to get lost?” I could only smile.
The initial site brief was rather simple – they showed us some screenshots of another LMS and said, “We want you to build us that!”
Really! I wasn’t keen on retooling Moodle to look like another LMS, so we declined the work. “If you want LMS X, go use LMS X”, was my response. I am a passionate Moodler. The last thing I want is to turn Moodle into something that it is not.
Jump ahead a few months and the client returns with some amazing designs from there graphic designer Jo. With Graham their PM on the project, we set about building the Moodle site.
I have learnt that when building a custom site for a client that is new to Moodle, you need to communicate more… a lot more in fact.
Have regular check-ins to make sure you have understood their requirements. If a certain part of the development is tricky, wireframe it in more detail.
And lastly, be open to new ideas. As developers we can sometimes be set in doing things a certain way. That’s fine, sometimes it’s good coding practice to do it that way. Just don’t let it be an excuse to hide your own limitations.
The client wanted a clean, slick looking Moodle site that put the focus on the content. The site would include some bespoke gamification elements and custom integration. We’ll talk more about this in another post.
The end-result is a site built on the Boost theme, that is easy to maintain, and can be upgrade when the site is upgraded. I have worked on custom themes, where at the end of the build, you know upgrading with be very, very difficult.
Below are some screenshots of the build.