From 12 to 13 of November, Steve and I travelled to Dublin for the annual T44U (TERMINALFOUR for you) conference to meet the makers of Site Manager, our content management system, learn about what they’re doing, where they’re going with the new versions as well as pick up some developer tips and tricks.
All in all it was an excellent trip and we learned much about TERMINALFOUR and got even more excited about the upcoming new version that will make many things easier on the development/management side of things. Without further delay here’s our summary of the conference and short history of the company TERMINALFOUR.
This is just the first of several posts in the series of T44U to cover everything (well, everything you’d find interesting) we learned at this year’s conference. We wanted to structure everything in the points that jumped out to us and caught our attention, the things that we said “that’ll make our/your lives easier!” Thankfully, there was a lot of things that we noticed! Hope you enjoy this series.
T44U – 12 to 13 Nov 2015
- Site Manager v8.1 will be released on 16 November 2015.
- Form builder is a new component of v8.1 allowing forms to be easily built. However, the reporting side needs further work to make analysis of submitted data easier.
- Rights and roles (e.g. user is a moderator in one group, contributor in another) is on the T4 roadmap for development in the next six months.
- Site Manager v8 will have updates every month to coincide with their four week agile sprints.
- Programmable layouts promise to optimise the creation of content and development of assets such as page layouts and content types.
- New TinyMCE editor on v8 can be programmed to provide different options depending on the content type.
- Orange or light blue is the best colour for form submission buttons (recommended reading “You should test that” – Chris Goward, “Landing page optimization” – Tim Ash, “Connect” – Christopher Nash).
- You can upload files into the Media Library via the existing eForms functionality.
Company update and strategy
TERMINALFOUR now have 173 higher education clients in 13 countries (70 in UK and Ireland, 85 in US, 11 in Canada, 2 in Australia, 1 in New Zealand, 2 in South Africa).
2015 was the most successful year due to strong sales growth based on version 8. TERMINALFOUR now powers more higher education websites than all other key competitors combined (approximately 10,000 websites) .
250 clients overall includes non-higher education market e.g. Aer Lingus.
Growing Boston office to meet demand from US market.
Focusing on higher educations as that is where they have most clients even though TERMINALFOUR can be used by other organisations.
They are organising their business around “Manage/measure/engage/transact” e.g.
- Manage – are my websites working, can I easily update them in any language?
- Measure – are KPI analytics delivering improvements, what can we improve?
- Engage – connect with the millennial generation, student recruitment and retention – engage with students in a more personalised way.
- Transact – as easy to book a course as book a hotel room.
For example, Swinburne University (www.swinburne.edu.au/) – saw a 32% increase in UG graduate course enquiries within 4 days of moving to T4.
Site Manager V8.1 available to download from Monday 16 November 2015.
Faster bug fixing and improvements – now releasing new updates every month to coincide with their four week agile sprints methodology.
Great feedback on the new user interface.
- April 2015 – Site Manager v8 non-production release 0003
- July 2015 – Site Manager v8 production upgrade (release 0004)
- Oct 2015 – Site Manager v8 maintenance releases 0008 – 380 bug issues resolved.
Now use a scorecard system to assist with prioritisation of bugs.
TERMINALFOUR are looking for feedback based on user stories. They also plan to allow voting on proposals. They want to hold client stakeholder groups to receive change request and feature requests. They are also looking for opportunities for co-development with higher education partners.