One very happy Scouse Bird

Last week, Group Dane was pleased to launch the brand new Scouse Bird Problems website…

For anyone who doesn’t know her (where’ve you been?), Scouse Bird is a popular anonymous fashion and lifestyle blogger, famous for her characteristically Scouse-witted tongue. With a growing social media following of more than 250,000 people, her reach spans from Merseyside way out across the globe, while her website attracts tens of thousands of visits every month.

Souse Bird asked Group Dane to create a new website, which is not only in-keeping with the brand from a design perspective, but also includes a easily manageable blogging platform and functionality that simplifies management of advertising.

We designed a beautiful, responsive website, which supports and builds upon the Scouse Bird brand and, through effective information architecture work, displays a large amount of content in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

scouseGiven the majority of Scouse Bird’s audience visits the website via portable devices, we knew from the outset that it was crucial that the site works well on all mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets.

sbp4We opted for Umbraco to handle content management (including blogging platform) and developed an integrated system to manage advertising across the site, which scalable management and reporting.

The verdict?

Another beautiful and perfectly engineered website by Group Dane and one very happy Scouse Bird.

scouse-bird-problemsSee the website for yourself at:



An Evening with Umbraco

On Wednesday night, we were lucky enough to spend a couple of hours in the company of Umbraco founder, Niels Hartvig.

In a very candid and informal talk, Niels enthralled the 90 or so delegates that had travelled to Manchester to see hear about Umbraco from the master himself.

Niels Hartvig at Umbraco Manchester Meet UpNiels talked about the mistakes the company has made in the past, from the lasting effects of minor typos, to the major U-turn with Umbraco 5. Then, with considerable modesty, Niels talked about the significant successes the company has enjoyed with high-profile companies like Peugeot and Microsoft.

One of the key points Niels made throughout his talk was the importance he placed on the growing Umbraco community. Part of what makes Umbraco so popular with coders is the community it has nurtured:

 “Umbraco is transparent and honest… Umbraco lives because of its community which thrives on collaboration and is passionate about technology. We work together to bring about change.”
– Umbraco manifest

Niels Hartvig at Umbraco Manchester Meet UpSimplicity

Niels affirmed his personal desire to constantly make it easier to use Umbraco’s interface. Its simplicity and intuitive controls are part of what makes this such a popular content management system for web editors.

In terms of set up, Umbraco provides the basis of what’s needed to create a content managed website, allowing you to choose the add-ons and extensions you want to use. In comparison, many other content management systems are really bloated and over complicated giving users all of the options you could ever possibly need, irrespective of their requirements.

From Group Dane’s point of view, Umbraco is a winning solution, as it allows our developers to build sites from the ground up, only adding features that are required by our clients. This makes our clients lives easier because they get a very simple interface, containing only the features that they will actually need.

The future

Niels talked about Project Belle, a new user interface design, which aims to help end users use the backoffice more easily.

Find out more about Belle and how you can have your first look at it by downloading the alpha version.

Umbraco as a service

Perhaps one of the most interesting chapters in Umbraco’s history is due to unfold soon.

Niels talked about Umbraco’s plans to offer a service which will appeal to less technical users, rivalling the simplicity of WordPress in terms of set up.

The packages will offer users development, staging and live environments, with a simple one click deployment between them.

And finally…

For us, the resounding message was that, other than a great deal of talent and skill, Umbraco’s success has largely been attributed to a strong desire for simplicity, acute perfectionism and transparency within its community. I believe there is a great deal of good stuff still to come from Umbraco.

For more thoughts on Umbraco, check out our post, Umbraco we love you.

Images courtesy of Simon Antony.

Umbraco, we love you

So you’re looking for a content management system (CMS) for your website? At Group Dane, we usually recommend Umbraco to our clients.

Read on to find out more about Umbraco and why we love it so…

What is Umbraco?

Umbraco is a free, open-source CMS platform that helps web editors to quickly and easily update and publish content to their sites.

Currently, Umbraco is a privately held profit-making company with about 10 permanent staff, who are supported by an additional 15 volunteer developers.

How did it come about?

First developed by Niels Hartvig in 2000, it was released as open-source software in 2005. By 2009, it was widely considered to be one of the leading .Net-based open source CMSs around.

Who else uses it?

Umbraco is used by some of the biggest organisations in the world, including Peugeot, Heinz, Microsoft and Vogue.

umbraco clients

What sets it apart from competitors?

Umbraco is free and easy to use for both editors and .Net developers. Because it’s open-source, it thrives on collaboration, which means that anybody can submit their own bug fixes, features and extensions to be considered for inclusion in the CMS. This means it is quickly and constantly improving.

The diverse usage of the CMS and collaborative development effort means it’s highly flexible. Almost everything in Umbraco is customisable and extensions are available that can enhance the standard installation. These extensions are mainly provided by the community and most are free or available for a small charge.

Umbraco offers support via the community site Our Umbraco, which is not only huge (it has more than 55,000 registered users), it is also extremely knowledgeable. Many of its members are top notch developers keen to help and advise on all things Umbraco.

Although the CMS is free to use (and according to the Umbraco Corporation, it always will be), there are additional options you can opt in for, which include productivity enhancing add-ons. For a small fee, you can also add a support package to the CMS for guaranteed and professional help and bug fixing warranty.

Find out more

Hear it from the horse’s mouth at the official Umbraco website.

Group Dane is a Liverpool-based digital agency, with more than 15 years digital experience. Get in touch if you’d like to know what we can do for you, whether you need a new website/CMS or not.

Post by Louise, Head of Development.