The background to the Haiku Product and the Haiku Project overseeing its development.
The development of Haiku was begun in 2011 with four pilot departments in the Medical Sciences Division. The aim was to share the burden of building a website which would meet the communication and information requirements of a Medical Sciences department. We didn't know at the time if we could work collectively, but it soon became clear that each department in the pilot had similar needs.
On the technical side, fashions in communication and websites change rapidly, so we wanted to create a system which would stand the test of time, in which we could invest, and which had a robust infrastructure behind it to ensure that it could evolve along with us.
We also wanted departments to be able to focus on their communications and content and to worry less about the technical considerations of commissioning and maintaining a website. One of the most exciting parts of the pilot project was having the luxury of time to talk to departments about how they wanted to present themselves and their activities - to consider the images and writing style that would best convey their mission and character.
THE WEBSITE PRODUCT
The standard Haiku website is built by combining a set of pre-made ‘sections,’ each tailored to display a different type of content, into a structure which best describes the unit and their work.
A consistent look and feel has been agreed by units involved in the pilot project, but units can individualize their design using different colours and images. The site meets accessibility standards, uses responsive design to adapt the display to different devices, emphasizes readability, objectivity and easy navigation.
From the outset, a key feature for Haiku were the researcher pages. Researchers are provided with a profile page to ‘own’ and maintain. Within limits, they are able to customize its content, using drag and drop blocks, one block is synchronized with publications from Symplectic - other blocks can be customized to provide links to colleges, research groups and associates, or downloads such as pdfs and cvs. A researcher page from one Haiku website can automatically be shared on another Haiku website, thus allowing you to display profile pages on multiple sites.
THE HAIKU PROJECT
The Haiku product has been built by a consultancy (Fry-IT) - each department contracts individually with the consultancy but, in doing so, also buys into a Divisional eco-system supporting the ongoing development of the product. Every Haiku site has an Editor-in-chief who becomes part of the communications network in the Division.
Units also become part of the Haiku Evolution process. They can submit proposals for future improvements to the website product and can take part in planning the roadmap for development.
An Oversight Committee keeps a watch over the project as a whole. This is co-chaired by the administrators of two of the Haiku departments and includes representatives, from both academic and communication fields from other Haiku units. It oversees the Haiku Evolution Process and makes suggestions to improve that process as well as ensuring that the consultancy delivers to time, provides value for money and meets the defined service level agreements.
If a unit requires something very specific (integration with a local database for instance, or distinctive branding) or wishes to fast track a feature, this can be commissioned at additional cost. These features will be then be launched after a few months for use by the rest of the Haiku community.