Project ReVamp 4.0

Overview


Project ReVamp 4.0, with the current student WebTeam (2015-2016), called to redesign, restructure, and thereby renew the Institute’s website - www.giki.edu.pk

The project, with its sole official team, was self-initiated in early October, 2015 by The GIK WebTeam. Taking into consideration the hectic on-campus schedule of the students and also the important Senior Design Projects / Final Year Projects of the senior year students in The GIK WebTeam, the project was challengingly and determinedly aimed at achieving completion within a meager period of five months only.

Background


The previous GIK website information architecture and visual design were implemented by Muhammad Nasrullah Nasir (2003-2005) and his team in 2004. The website, during its run, was awarded the Best Institutional Website in Pakistan Award by NETSOL (2005) and also gained much acclaim in the SPIDER Internet Magazine (March, 2007 ed.)

Waqas Burney (2007-2008) with his team in 2008 undertook the second revamp.

ReVamp 3.0 was implemented under the supervision of Hassan Zaheer (2012-2013) and his team in 2013. The website grew to higher ranks on Ranking Web of Universities

Despite the accolades and its towering reputation as a student-developed and in-house website in its running span of four years since the last revamp, The GIK WebTeam unanimously felt that there were still a number of opportunities for further improvements. Upgrading the Server environment to enhance performance, improving the content management panel (ePanel), updating the website navigational structure, developing a clear user focus, adding device responsive features, increasing the dynamic proportioning of content, bringing in an aesthetic makeover, bringing in social media and promotional video content etc. were a few of the many floated ideas.

Phases


The project was phased-out into seven phases, as below:

  •  
    Phase 0: Observation
    Time Allotted: 1.5 months

    Simultaneously, the GIK website was observed through analytics tools to thoroughly observe the user behavior and the kind of audience the website attracted or the pages that were visited most and least also for what reason and during which time span. This started in

  •  
    Phase 1: Observation
    Time Allotted: 2 weeks

    To begin with, a total of hundre and thirty different, local and international, university websites were selected randomly by the Webmaster and the senior year WebTeam members. All the members of The GIK WebTeam were then asked to ‘research’, both individually and combined in teams, through the respectively divided websites. The members were to use observation from both- their respective technical perspectives and a general lay-man perspective; and thereby ‘pick up’ the good/bad, pros/cons, must-haves/leave-outs in ample detail.

    In the second portion of this phase, the same activity was then asked to be carried out by all members of the WebTeam, but this time, on the then-current GIK Website. This was to give all the members a thorough inside-out perspective of the GIK website itself.

  •  
    Phase 2: Understanding and Requirements Analysis
    Time Allotted: 15 work-hours

    On completion of the observation phase, followed the much important and in-detail- the multiple white-board sessions. The entire team would gather in the Multimedia Lab, FCSE, and all personal observations jotted down in Phase 1 would then be discussed in detail and various results and conclusions derived. Ideas, comments and suggestions were free to flow in. It was only after a good number of work-hours of much discussion, the team realized the need to simplify home page navigation, expand information for key user groups, and improve the visual and functional presentation of information. We were thereby successful in developing the new sitemap of the GIKI website. It seemed cool, and we were confident in it!

    In parallel, much requirement analysis was carried on the various required textual and pictorial content was also carried out. We realized the dire need for updating textual information and for including, besides the general-campus pictorial content, three additional segments of coverage:

    • Outside-the-campus domain (and hence the mountain-hike plans, dam visits etc)
    • On-spot 'Nature' shots (and hence the days of having fun outdoors in all weathers etc)
    • On-campus crowd & activity coverage (and hence attending various student events etc.
  •  
    Phase 3: Design
    Time Allotted: 5 work-hours

    With the fresh and new sitemap in hand, the design team started sketching & drawing the to-be design of the new website. All members of the WebTeam were asked to suggest preferred color schemes for the new website.

    After much debate amongst ourselves and a lot of consultation from the previous GIKI Webmasters so as to gain from their experience, we, finally, had our design complete. :)

  •  
    Phase 4: Server Plan out
    Time Allotted: 2 weeks

    Before implementation could actually kick-off, came the important phase of deploying a new, needed server machine. Based on detailed statistical usage and performance analysis of the previous server and all the requirements of the upcoming website, a full-fledged report, compiled by the GIKI WebTeam requesting provision for a new appropriate server machine, was officially presented to the GIKI administration and concerned members of the Faculty of Computer Sciences and Engineering. Upon duly reviewing and without much delay the GIKI administration graciously equipped the WebTeam with a powerful and high-performance Quad Core Server machine for the upcoming website.

    From all the essential LAMP deployments & RAID configurations on our new powerful and in-house Linux-based server, to performance optimization and security management for the website, work was completed in quick succession. The WebTeam was ready to begin work on the upcoming website.

  •  
    Phase 5: Implementation
    Time Allotted: ∞ work-hours

    The Implementation phase, in the most straightforward of words, was truly a countless number of hours invested by the six very students of the GIKI WebTeam for the implementation of their respective work-domains.

  •  
    Phase 6: Testing
    Time Allotted: 13 days

    With the website, in essence, now all complete, the GIKI WebTeam launched the GIKI website v3.0 (Beta) on the 1st January, 2013.

    This site is currently in Beta mode. That means that we're still in the process of refining the site, and you can expect to see changes from time to time. We are especially interested in comments that can help guide our decisions about improvements.


Revamp 4.0 Team

 
Mashal Rashid
Webmaster / Project Leader

 
Wamiq Ali
System Administrator

Muhammad Hamza
Lead Developer

Zaeem Rasheed
Content Manager

Shehryar Mehr
Lead Photographer

Musab Afzal
Junior Web Developer

Saadat Rizvi
Junior Web Developer

Amer Kumar
Junior Web Developer

Sarmad Afzal
Junior Web Developer

Shajee Ahmed
Junior Content Writer

Muhammad Bilal
Junior Content Writer

Rayyan Zahid
Junior Graphics Designer

Osama bin Haroon
Junior Photographer

Hamza Muzammil
Sophomore Web Developer

Muhammad Owais
Sophomore Graphics Designer

Talha Basharat
Sophomore Content Writer

Umer Malhi
Sophomore Content Writer

Bashmund Shah
Freshmen Graphic Designer

Sadiq Shah
Freshmen Web Designer