Big Chip is an extension of the renowned agency Manchester Digital, and is an awards ceremony ran by them recognising excellent digital work in the North West. It is the UK’s longest running digital industry awards and the biggest outside of London. It has an unrivalled reputation for consistency and integrity within judging. Run by and for the digital industry – not for profit – the Big Chip Awards contain special categories for start-ups, micro businesses, students and apprentices.

The Challenge

Manchester Digital came to us with a static site that they simply didn’t have enough time to edit themselves. Submitters to the awards could not do so on the site, which obviously made it a much more difficult process for every party involved.

We were asked to edit the back end to make it a more functional site which was easy to submit to and easy for Big Chip judges to navigate through submissions. We were also asked to add a payment process to the site, so submission fees could be paid online.

The Objectives

Project manager Rob Sandbach made the initial contact with Manchester Digital, though further follow ups were then passed onto James Marshall. Visually, there were no changes to the front end of the Big Chip awards site, but the back end was changed completely and remade with Drupal by developer Rob Traynor.

This back end would hopefully mean that content could be edited and payments processed. We created a user database to allow users to log in and review their own entries. During the whole process, Dave Rogers was testing to assure the quality of the changes and contact was maintained with Big Chip.

The Team

Rob Project Manager

James Client Manager

Rob Head Developer

Dave Quality Assurance

What We Did

Information Architecture

Since Big Chip didn’t have a submission process on the site, users had to submit via email or over the phone. This was a lengthy difficult process which made potential users less likely to submit. We created a diagram which highlighted the major steps that users would have to take to submit their content onto the site, which gave us an easy, step-by-step process to follow. This allowed us to focus on every aspect of the submission process individually, and ensure that we created the best user submission experience and a complete database to make the judges’ process of choosing a winner much easier.

Maintaining a Manchester Icon

Big Chip is a well established award for digital talent in the North West with a well know brand image we wanted to improve upon without modifying the existing design of the website.


The design was modernised but kept within The Big Chip theme in order to maintain the feel of the company. Many changes were made to fit with the requirements. Take a look.

Added the ability to make online payments, previously bookings were made only by phone.

Rebuilt in Drupal, the charm of the original HTML Big Chip website remained but now Manchester Digital have full control over the backend.

Custom built user database added to the backend to allow judges to easily review, comment on and ultimately assign winners and shortlisted entries.

What we delivered

We handed Manchester Digital a completely remade back end of their site well in time for submissions to be opened. The front end remained the same, as to their specifications, but now the process of judging is much easier, as is the one of submitting and paying.

This has saved Manchester Digital a lot of time; in outsourcing this job to us they have been able to continue other projects while being sure that the project will be completed exactly to their specification.

Content can now be edited by users and judges and a past winners directory is also available on the site. There is also a user data base which now means users can check through their online entries and pay without having to give details on the phone. Over all, the new site is modernised to fit with the Manchester Digital ideal of being a modern, forward thinking company who set standards within the digital sector.

  • Smoother site and back end
  • Ease of use for judges
  • Simplified processes for users and judges
  • Online payments now allowed
  • Bespoke back end made in Drupal 7
  • User data base
  • Past winners directory
  • Available to submit online


The final site made life easier for everyone at Manchester Digital, not only because they didn’t have time to do the job but now the judging, sign-up, and payment processes are so much easier that no extra work is required to maintain them. This has meant that more of their time can be spent on promoting the Big Chip awards and preparing for them, and working on other projects.

“The guys at Indiespring are a pleasure to work with, always happy to help and quick to react in a crisis.”

Shaun Fensom, Manchester Digital

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