Associative Trails

Eckersley O'Callaghan Intranet

A self-populating technical library that grew into a comprehensive company-wide information portal for one of the UK's most accomplished engineering specialists.

This fully-featured intranet helps with a broad range of important responsibilities - from technical knowledge capture and dissemination to alerting staff to freshly-cut birthday cake.

The fully responsive interface can be used on screens of all sizes - from phones to the biggest desktop monitor.

The challenge

Eckersley O'Callaghan initially approached us to build a searchable library of their technical documentation. The brief quickly explanded to encompass a comprehensive intranet for all their staff.

We started by building an automatic process that spiders through network drives, searching for technical documents. These documents are thumbnailed and analysed for popular keywords before being added to the library. Potential duplicate documents are flagged for review and users can add their own metadata to improve discoverability.

With the library being tested and populated, we then turned out attention to helping Eckersley O'Callaghan improve staff communication and knowledge sharing.

Technical library - browsable, filterable and searchable
Embedded document view with metadata, linekd staff an projects Flagging of potential duplicate documents

The solution

Using the technical library as a foundation, we then developed a fully-featured intranet for comprehensive knowledge sharing within the practise. Features such as rich text editing, granular administration privileges, controlled items with read receipts, staff skills assessment and office skills rosters were all feature in the new system.

We used the Bootstrap framework and a modular front-end coding approach to build a rich interface that is responsive across all screen sizes. Having the solid foundation of a formal framework helped us achieve some complicated user intractions for cropping images, embedding dynamic item lists in body text, sorting and reordering lists of linked items, etc.

The new system includes a number of features to help staff in their day-to-day professional lives:

  • Sophisticated content discovery with a skimming interface for search results allowing users to review the content of search matches without leaving the result page
  • Network drives containing technical documents are spidered and imported to the library after being thumbnailed and analysed for keyword frequency and potential duplicates
  • Comprehensive staff skills profiles, including software skills, languages, education history and professional experience
  • An application-wide user subscription model allowing users to quickly see updates to content that interests them
  • Controlled items can request users acknowledge they have read them, with targeting for all staff or individuals
  • Image cropping within easy-to-use web forms
  • Support for multiple offices, with graphical presentation of office skills profiles
  • Event attendance management
  • Project records - with links to staff profiles, technical documents, tags, etc.
  • A noticeboard to allow staff to post messages about personal events, stuff for sale, flats for rent, etc.
  • A Stack Overflow-style question and answer interface to encourage staff to share knowledge with each other
Content skimming
Events calendar Personal user favourites
News feed Image cropping

“Matt has been able to deliver an easy to use, customised product... Communicative, concise and creative. It been great to collaborate with him and I'll continue to do so.”

The outcome

The new intranet is available to all client employees using their web browsers. They are automatically recognised from their windows domain login. The new system has gone down well with staff, and we look forward to future development.

Home page
Office skills roster Projects map

Technologies used

Adobe Coldfusion, Python, Microsoft SQL Server, HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Javascript. Integration with Microsoft Active Directory.

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