Creating low energy impact websites
Sustainability is at the core of our business. We are continuously working to implement processes that are in compliance with our vision and values. When developing a website, we will ensure the following are met throughout the project development cycle:
- users have to be able to access the information efficiently
- the navigation has to be easy to understand to avoid clicking the wrong pages
- essential information has to be easy to access
- use existing patterns and only break them when needed (logo left top, contact page as last menu item etc)
- test the on-site search for efficiency, so users are able to find what they need using common queries e.g. phone number -> contact page
- easy to find information through Google, make sure pages are tagged with the right keywords
- when linking rich media show filesize/warning if possible to inform a customer about the size of the content, for example, “download pdf [146mb]”. or make sure to inform visitors when links are external.
Media and Content
- images are always optimally compressed
- reuse images when possible
- optimal file format for images (svg/png/jpg)
- JPG = photos and colourful images
- SVG = vector based illustrations, drawings and logos
- PNG = in case SVG is too large, transparency
- web fonts, popular Google fonts are more likely to be cached
- make sure all caching methods are used
- use popular hosted libraries like Bootstrap and jQuery
- retina images only served on retina devices
- clean, efficient code! (ask a developer to check)
- lazy loading, only load content if it’s going to be seen by the users
- consider preloading pages, no need for a refresh when loading another page
- hosting with renewable/green energy
- green/sustainability policy
- ask web developer for any optimisations we can do?
We sometimes have to make tradeoffs, we have to make sure they are conscious tradeoffs, examples of these are:
- High-quality videos
- different pages
- external links
- breaking common UX patterns to create some kind of delight
Wholegrain Digital aims to encourage all its employees to maximise their attendance at work, while recognising that employees will from time to time be unable to come to work for short periods due to sickness.
We understand that there will inevitably be some short-term sickness absence among employees and do provide compensation for genuine short-term absences. However, we must pay due regard to business need and therefore monitor the length of time lost through illness to ensure all employees are able to do their job effectively, without putting themselves of others at risk.
This policy applies to all those contracted as employees of Wholegrain Digital.
It is the company policy to pay employees their normal basic rate of pay during periods of sickness absence of up to 3 days. Payment is, however, conditional upon an employee complying with the organisation procedure for notifying the directors of the absence, and in some cases, you may be required to attend an interview with the Company Directors to discuss your absence, on your return to work.
For absences of more than 3 days, the company offers Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the fourth day onwards, subject to your complying with the necessary notification and certification procedures as outlined below.
Sickness Absence Procedures
If you need to be absent from work due to illness, or any other reason, you must:
- Notify the directors by telephone if as soon as possible that you are ill, or unable to attend work for any other reason. Notification should be as early as possible. You should be prepared to state the reason you cannot attend work and how long you think the absence will last
- Notify the directors at the start of each day that you are absent, to let them know how you are and whether you will be able to return to work in any capacity, unless otherwise agreed.
- Provide a doctor’s certificate or “fit note” for a period of sickness absence not exceeding seven days if the company specifically requests it
- Cooperate with the company with regards to the possible implementation of any adjustment of job duties, hours or working conditions, resulting from recommendations made by your doctor, notwithstanding the fact that the advice on a “fit note” is not binding on the employer.
- Regardless of the length of time you are absent, you may be required to produce a doctor’s certificate and/or attend an interview with the directors on your return to work to discuss the absence and the reason for it. One of the purposes of this interview will be to establish whether or not the directors can provide any support that could facilitate attendance at work in the future (for example, if the absence was in any way work related)
- Frequent, repeated short-term absences can damage efficiency and productivity, and place an additional burden of work on the whole team. As such, if there are any concerns in this regard, further discussion may be required and these absences would be treated in the same way as a longer-term absence.
This Policy is intended to provide general guidelines for reporting Sickness Absence. All information held is covered under the Data Protection Act. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Team Administrator in the first instance.
Whether it be computers, software, stationery or clothing, we do from time to time need to buy things as a business. In doing so, we need to understand how to decide what to buy, where to buy it from and what to do with it after we’ve purchased it.
When purchasing anything for the company, we need to balance performance with social and environmental impact and cost. In an ideal world, everything that we buy would be fit for purpose, socially responsible, environmentally sustainable and cheap. However, in most cases, we will need to compromise and the below guidelines should help you to find the right balance.
Before buying anything, we must assess whether we really need to buy anything at all. What is the need that we are trying to address? Is it a real need, and could this need be fulfilled without buying anything – perhaps with an alternative solution, or by renting or borrowing something? To buy nothing is usually the best solution in terms of environmental impact and cost, so it should always be our first choice. If we do need to buy something, then we should use the following criteria:
We must ensure that the product or service is fit for purpose. Otherwise, it will fail to meet our need and waste money and natural resources. When assessing performance, you must aim to find the Goldilocks level of performance – not too little, not too much but just right. While too little performance will not meet our needs, too much performance can waste money and natural resources because high performance products are often less efficient.
Social and environmental impact
We should always be aiming to use products and services that are socially responsible in their production and use, as well as achieving a high level of environmental sustainability. We must never knowingly purchase products that use child labour or exploit workers and we should aim to add social value by buying local, independently produced goods and services wherever possible. Local products can also reduce environmental impact, as can buying second-hand or refurbished goods and assessing products according to Tom’s Sustainable Design Manifesto.
As a business, we aim to not spend any more money on stuff than is required to meet our practical needs. The only exception to this is where a more socially and/or environmentally responsible product is available, in which case we’ll pay a premium for it if it is financially viable to do so.
Payment & Receipts
Where possible, purchases should be made with a company debit card but can be purchased by individuals who must then submit an expense claim. A valid receipt is required to be filed immediately for all company purchases. Please see our expense policy for details of how to submit your claim
Care of products
The team members entrusted with any products owned by the company must take good care of them by using them responsibly and storing and transporting them safely. If advice or assistance is required to care for products, then the team member responsible must ask another team member or manager.
If a product is accidentally damaged or found to be faulty, you must report and return it immediately to a manager so that a repair or replacement can be arranged. This is especially important in the case of product faults as a delay in reporting and returning the product could void our ability to claim a repair or replacement under the product warranty.
If you no longer need an item owned by the company, you must return it immediately so that other team members can use it or it can be sold, donated or recycled. Similarly, if you require a new, updated product, then you must return the old one. Company property is not your own to keep or dispose of.
Hardware, computers and devices
Electronic products have a high environmental impact. Therefore, wherever possible, you should aim to buy second-hand equipment with low energy consumption. If suitable equipment is not available second-hand within the required time frame then new equipment can be purchased, but try to select a manufacturer with good social and environmental standards where possible.
We recommend the following electronics suppliers:
- eBay – for second-hand devices
- Apple – check their refurbished products
- John Lewis – our preferred choice for new equipment due to socially responsible business practices and extended warranty on electronics as standard.
We often have limited choice over which software we purchase. Where possible, we should aim to use software that is open-source, cloud-based and tried and tested. There are specific cases where open-source or cloud-based software does not meet our requirements, particularly in the case of design software. In these cases, we have to make an exception.
We have very limited need to purchase clothing, but do sometimes buy branded clothing for team members.
When purchasing clothing, please note the following:
- It must display one of our brand names
- It should be a design that the relevant team members are happy to wear
- It should be from a socially and environmentally responsible supplier.
We recommend the following clothing suppliers:
- I Dress Myself – a fantastic supplier for batches of clothing. Good quality organic garments, screen-printed by hand with water-based inks in Somerset
- Rapanui – produce organic T-shirts printed in a wind-powered factory on the Isle of Wight. Great for one-off designs, but the quality is not as good as I Dress Myself.
We don’t buy a lot of stationery but do sometimes need to buy pens, pencils, paper, et cetera, as well as printed products such as business cards and other marketing materials.
- All products made of paper must be FSC certified or equivalent or produced from recycled materials
- Pens should be refillable where available
- Disposable items should be avoided if possible, but should otherwise be biodegradable or recyclable if possible
- Printed products should use non-toxic water-based inks wherever possible.
Some of the websites where these products can be found are:
If you have any questions about purchasing or caring for stuff at Wholegrain, please ask the Company Directors.
The purpose of this overtime policy is to clarify Wholegrain Digital’s rules regarding compensation of hours worked beyond your contractual agreed hours, and your responsibilities in ensuring that you are compensated appropriately.
We are want to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the time you put in to ensure completion of your duties. We also have a duty of care to you as employees, to the minimise health and safety risks to you personally, which can occur as a result of working excessive hours for an extended period.
This policy applies to all current employees.
‘Contractual hours’ refers to those stated in your contract. If different to those stated below, please refer to your contract for the correct figure.
Generally, all employees are expected to plan their days so that you are able to complete your duties within your contractual hours (usually 8 hours per day/40 hours per week, pro-rated for part-time employees).
We realise that during busy periods, you may need to work a few extra hours to keep on top of workloads. In recognition of this, we agree to compensate overtime hours up to 10% of your weekly contracted hours (e.g. If you work 40 hours per week, we will compensate up to 4 additional hours each week) at your standard rate of pay, without prior arrangement.
From time to time, it may be necessary for you to work additional overtime to handle emergencies, heavy workloads and other issues. We recognise that frequent and excessive overtime isn’t good for your health or performance and therefore aim to keep these requests to a minimum. However, should you agree with one of the company directors to a short period of additional overtime, then we will arrange compensation provided that you follow the necessary approval and recording procedures.
You do not need approval to work up overtime that makes up 10% or less than your contracted hours
For additional overtime, whether this is your request or at the request of one of the Company Directors, you must:
- Discuss and agree the requirement to work additional hours
- Set the number of additional hours required and when these will be worked
- Set a limit on the timeframe that the additional hours will last (not more than one week)
- Put these details in writing – a email between you and one of the Directors is fine
- Review the status of the workload before the date the overtime is set to end (if more than two days).
For all overtime worked, you must submit the details by email to Vineeta, and cc Rachael and Mohib, before the 24th of the month to ensure that you receive compensation with your salary.
How you record hours is up to you, but you must include the number of hours, the dates they were worked and justification for your request (details of what you did in this time). To make it easy for you, we’ve created a template you are free to save to your own drive and use if you wish.
Provided correct recording procedure has been followed, you will receive compensation for any overtime worked at the end of the month, with your usual salary. Any overtime hours will be marked as such on your payslip.
This policy is intended as a guide and legal requirements will always be adhered to. You would not be asked to work any overtime beyond the current legal limit. If you have any questions or concerns, please ask. This policy may be updated from time to time but you will be given notice of any changes that may affect your current contract.
Why Discovery & UX ?
So many reasons..!
Think about it… Would you write report without doing any research or knowing who it was for…?
When it comes to creating websites, we always discover who the client is, their budget, their motivations. It’s important to remember that we should always understand the basic UX context as well:
- Basics: User groups and what goals the project helps them meet or pain it helps relieve
- UX development happens on every project anyway, just often implicitly / intuitively, however if we follow a (light) process this will make sure we don’t make false assumptions
- Risk management: If the client doesn’t know these basics are they really ready to do the project..?
- If we don’t know them, how do we know how to approach it? How can we quote for it?
- A simple questionnaire (before we quote) is all it takes.
- Makes much more sense than Mobile first!
- Is a recognised strategy in industrial design, and B2C business in general:
Design products/services for the user!
- Of course our customer, the client, has requirements: they will (always?) be
best served by designing UX first.
Agile UX (!)
- UX needs to be tailored to every project, and that is always a work-in-progress
- Deliverables are not end-points but snapshots, needed for communication and validation
- Launching a site is not the beginning nor the end of the client’s relationship with their users…
It’s the start of (data-driven) optimisation and evolution: the UX should facilitate this
- Be creative! E.g. Is a different approach to Personas useful for a particular project?
1. Discovery (Questionnaire) + Compilation
- Them (sector, products/services, background, future, etc…)
- This project (motive, risks criteria for partner selection, key dates etc)
- User Groups + Goals / Pains (customers, partners, internal)
- Can also infer groups from Analytics / other data if available.
- Compile and describe back to the client in their own words to check we are
correct and to reassure them – Chose appropriate documentation format for project: e.g. Summary UGs, UG Map / graph.
2. Persona Development
- Can be valuable even for smaller projects, as memory/empathy aid
- Can be done in 30 mins (pretty presentation is slooooow)
- We should sell to the client that they can use elsewhere
- Start with user groups
- Don’t forget internal user groups, especially if have specific needs of the site
- May need to conduct survey / conversations with users directly
- Details: Who they represent, Demographics, Key traits (1 word), Touch points (e.g. devices, real world, phone), goals, pains. Also orgs goals for them
- Memorable (e.g. alliterative names like Memorable Melanie)
- Validate: Internal communication with those closest to each, and if possible
- Direct communication with representative sample.
3. User Journey Development
- Can be valuable even for smaller projects, to clarify IA
- We should sell to the client that they can use elsewhere
- Start with user group’s goals – people go on journeys to meet their goals (which may be to relieve pains)
- Starting points – May be offsite – important to consider as may require a landing page for example
- Validate: Internal communication with those closest to each, and if possible direct communication with representative sample.
4. Site map
- Identify content and functionality required to enable the Journeys
- Iterate a overview structure to contain these (work in progress until the end!)
- Re-evaluate quote and timelines based on this?
5. Narrative arc/funnel -> Hierarchical Wireframes
- For each key page in Sitemap consider Hierarchy of content/ functionality
- Can use Narrative Arc/Funnel as a tool to aid this.
6. Layout wireframes + Click model
- Wireframes are falling from favour.. Higher-res mockups, even interactive click-models, more useful (see how text will fit,
7. Design/Mockups and so on…
What are User Journeys?
Not just a UX deliverable!
The are a series of steps (typically 4-12), which represent a scenario in which a user might interact with the thing.
You are designing:
- Demonstrating the way users currently interact with the service / website / product
- Demonstrating the way users could interact with the service / website / product.
- Demonstrating the vision for the project – user journeys are a great way to communicate what you are trying to achieve with stakeholders. They show an example of what the future state of whatever it is you are designing could be. Along with personas they can be one of the key outputs from the requirements gathering stage at the beginning of a project
- They help us understand user behaviour – User journeys can help you work out how users are going to interact with your system and what they expect from it
- They help identify possible functionality at a high level – by understanding the key tasks they will want to do to you can start to understand what sort of functional requirements will help enable those tasks
- They help you define your taxonomy and interface – By understanding the ‘flow’ of the various tasks the user will want to undertake you can start to think about.
Not just a UX deliverable!
- Start towards the beginning of a project in the discovery or requirements gathering phase,
normally after personas. This is both to visualise the user requirements and help feed into other design activities such as information architecture or wireframing. However, they can also be used further down the line when scoping out pieces of functionality in more detail
- Focus process on ‘User First’
- Clarify Client requirements: for us and for them!
- Communicate: to client, devs, QA.
- User’s goals
- Current pain points
- Overall character (personas)
- Main tasks they want to achieve
- Text based
- UML Activity Diagram
- Story board
- Experience Map.
At each step:
- Context – Where is the user? What is around them? Are there any external factors which may be distracting them?
- Progression – How does each step enable them to get to the next?
- Devices – what device are they using?Are they a novice or expert? What features does the device have?
- Functionality – What type of functionality are they expecting? Is it achievable?
- Emotion – What is their emotional state in each step? Are they engaged, bored, annoyed?
The purpose of this expense policy is to provide guidance to any employees claiming reasonable expenses incurred in connection with Wholegrain Digital business.
This policy covers the reimbursement of purchases relating to:
Wholegrain will provide you with the equipment necessary to carry out duties to relating to your role. Further information on this can be found in our Communications Policy. Should you require further equipment, then please first request this, and we can purchase it for you.
If you need to purchase something urgently – for example, if a delay would prevent you from doing your work effectively, then you may purchase smaller items for reimbursement, following approval from one of the company directors.
Wholegrain has subscriptions to all the services you will need to carry out your role effectively. However, should you identify something that would help you, and particularly the wider team, to work even better, then we will consider paying this subscription for you with the company credit card.
If you already have a subscription when you begin working at Wholegrain that you require for your role, we may consider reimbursing you for this subscription or taking this on for you.
We do not provide reimbursement for subsistence for you personally while at work, however, should you buy drinks for client meetings then we will reimburse you for this.
While attending meetings at Impact Hub Westminster, we encourage you to make teas and coffees with the supplies available in the kitchen in the first instance, rather than buying from the café, wherever possible.
You will be provided with a work mobile phone for business use, and as line rental and calls will be paid for by us, there should be no expenses incurred in this regard.
Should you need to use your personal mobile or land line phone for business use for a limited period (e.g. If your work mobile does not work and you are waiting for a replacement), then we will reimburse you for business calls made, on receipt of an itemised VAT bill with relevant calls highlighted.
If you undertake any training relevant to your role, Wholegrain may agree to reimburse you in whole or in part for this expense.
Before booking any training course, please discuss with the company directors how this will benefit you and the business, to agree how payment will be made. If payment is made in full, then Wholegrain will pay for the course in advance, for you.
If you have already made arrangements and we agree to reimburse you, or we agree to pay for a course in part only, then you will be reimbursed on production of a VAT receipt for the course.
When travelling for work, the company will cover the cost of your transport and when appropriate, also your food and accommodation. Travelling for work means that it’s required as part of your job, but is not part of your normal commute into the office or to a client’s office. You can read more on what we define as reasonable expenses in our Travelling for Work article.
Generally, Wholegrain Digital will not reimburse costs relating to:
- Broadband/Internet provision
- Personal expenditure.
How to claim expenses
Unless arranged and paid for in advance, in which case we will already have the receipts, then every expense claim should be accompanied by a VAT receipt, in accordance with HMRC regulations.
The scanned receipt should be sent to one of the company directors, along with a note describing what it was for and requesting reimbursement. The original receipt should then be passed to Rachael, for filing for tax purposes.
All expenses received will be reimbursed either the Friday following receipt, or with your pay at the end of the month, whichever comes first.
This policy is intended as a comprehensive guide but should you still be unsure whether an activity or item can be reimbursed, please check with the company directors. This policy may be updated from time to time.
Wholegrain Digital provides all employees with access to a wide range of communications equipment and resources including, but not limited to:
- A company email address with gmail
- Access to the company’s Slack account
- Access to the company’s RedBooth account.
You can read more about the use of these resources in the below articles:
A laptop and company phone may also be provided as necessary to carry out duties relating to your role.
This policy applies to all employees using hardware or software provided by, and belonging to Wholegrain Digital, regardless of the details contained within any contract you may have with us. This policy is does not form part of your employment contract and may be subject to change at any time.
It is our responsibility to:
- Ensure that we provide you with all the resources reasonably required to effectively carry out your role
- Ensure the security of these resources against unauthorised access or abuse, while ensuring that they remain available to all authorised and legitimate users
- To this end, Wholegrain Digital reserves the right to carry out random monitoring of any online activity that takes place while you are logged into google, or any other software that identifies you as representing the company.
It is your responsibility to:
- Take appropriate care of any equipment provided to you by us, ensuring that it is well maintained, and notifying us of any issues with this equipment as soon as possible
- Take reasonable steps to ensure the security of any equipment provided
- Maintain the security of any passwords you use to log in to any software or hardware provided by the company. We recommend using LastPass to generate secure passwords, and remember them for you (but don’t forget you LastPass password! We can’t help if you lose this one)
- Adhere to the email guidelines when communicating with clients, always being mindful of security should there be a need to discuss highly sensitive information, in which case it may be best to consider another form of communication. You should never enter into a contract of agreement with a client or potential client by email unless expressly authorised by one of the Company Directors
- When using the internet, always remember that if you are logged in using your wholegraindigital.com email address, you are identifiable as representing the company and company activities. As such, you should always exercise good judgement and discretion regarding the websites you visit and activities you undertake online.
Misuse of resources
We’re sure you won’t, but legally we have to remind you not to misuse any of the resources provided to you for communication in any way that could result in disciplinary or legal action in any context.
Wholegrain is committed to ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment in the workplace for all employees. One of the key aims of this policy is to enable the organisation to provide a working environment in which all staff feel comfortable and in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, marital or family status, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, creed, culture, religion or belief, age, disability or any other personal factor or quality.
This policy aims to ensure that no employee, or other worker within the organisation, is subjected to any form of harassment or bullying. The purpose of this policy is to provide a route for employees who believe that they have been harassed or bullied to raise a complaint, either informally or formally.
The company will treat all complaints of harassment seriously and will investigate them promptly, efficiently and in confidence. The main aim of this policy is to provide a framework for resolving complaints of harassment or bullying and for stopping any behaviour that is causing offence or distress.
Your right to raise a complaint
Employees have an absolute right to complain if they are treated in a manner that they believe constitutes harassment or bullying. This will include behaviour that has caused offence, humiliation, embarrassment or distress. Apart from complaints about the behaviour of colleagues, employees have the right to complain if they believe that they have been bullied or harassed by a third party, for example, a client or supplier. Employees who raise a genuine complaint under this policy will under no circumstances be subjected to any unfavourable treatment or victimisation as a result of making a complaint.
However, if it is established that an employee has made a deliberately false or malicious complaint against another person about harassment or bullying, disciplinary action will be taken against that employee.
Any employee who witnesses an incident that they believe to be the harassment or bullying of another member of staff should report the incident in confidence either to the Company Directors or Team Admin. The company will take all such reports seriously and will treat the information in strict confidence, as far as it is possible to do so.
How to make a complaint
Before raising a formal complaint, the employee is encouraged in the first instance to talk directly and informally to the person whom they believes is harassing them and explain clearly what aspect of the person’s behaviour is unacceptable, or is causing offence, and request that it stop. It may be that the person whose conduct is causing offence is genuinely unaware that their behaviour is unwelcome or objectionable and that a direct approach can resolve the matter without the need for formal action. Where an employee would like support to make such an approach, they should contact the Directors or Team Admin.
If, however, the employee feels unable to take this course of action, if they have already approached the person to no avail, or if the harassment is of a very serious nature, they may elect to raise a formal complaint. Formal complaints may be raised with Directors or Team Admin.
In bringing a complaint of harassment/bullying, the employee should be prepared to state:
- The name of the person whose behaviour they believe amounts to harassment or bullying
- The type of behaviour that is causing offence, together with specific examples if possible
- Dates and times when incidents of harassment or bullying occurred, and where they occurred
- The names of any employees who witnessed any incidents, or who themselves may have been the victims of harassment or bullying by the same person; and
- Any action that the employee has already taken to try to deal with the harassment.
The responsible person who receives a complaint of harassment has a duty to investigate the matter thoroughly and objectively and to take corrective action in order to ensure that the organisation’s policy is complied with. The responsible person should be responsive and supportive towards any employee who raises a genuine complaint of harassment or bullying. All incidents of harassment/bullying should, in any event, be reported to the appointed person.
The organisation reserves the right, at its discretion, to suspend any employee who is under investigation for harassment or bullying for a temporary period whilst investigations are being carried out. Such suspension will be for as short a time as possible and will be on full pay.
Any employee accused of harassment or bullying will be informed of the exact nature of the complaint against them and afforded a full opportunity to challenge the allegations and put forward an explanation for their behaviour in a confidential interview, with a companion present if they wish. No employee will be presumed guilty following an allegation of harassment or bullying against them.
The organisation regards all forms of harassment and bullying as serious misconduct and any employee who is found to have harassed or bullied a colleague will be liable to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal.
The organisation will maintain records of investigations into alleged incidents of harassment or bullying, the outcome of the investigations and any corrective or disciplinary action taken. These records will be maintained in confidence and in line with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.