Digital Marketing & Communications

We've seen 1s and 0s you wouldn't believe

Digital roadmap update for June 2015

📥  Roadmap

Version 10 of our Digital roadmap has been approved by the Digital Steering Group. This edition accounts for activity that took place in April and May, and looks ahead to June and beyond.

Progress made in April and May 2015

  • Ongoing development of Beta CMS content types (events, profiles, teams) and first set of  front-end templates.
  • Supporting audits of site section content inventories by content owners.
  • Switching over from Google Analytics to Universal Analytics tracking code.
  • Mapping existing pages to student recruitment user journeys and identifying areas for improvement.
  • First iteration of content strategy for research content on
  • Investigation into launch of official Sina Weibo profile.
  • Audit of international student and country pages.
  • Set up blog for IRO.
  • 50th Anniversary holding page launched at and appointed supplier to build first iteration of 50th Anniversary website.

Priorities planned for June

  • Continue development of the new back-end and front-end content type templates and integration of content categories (see sprint notes for more details).
  • Continue to support content audits and running user needs analysis workshops.
  • Assess candidate software for creating interactive maps against prioritised user needs.
  • First integration of Eventbrite into event listings to provide booking management.
  • Establishing process by which new corporate social media accounts can be requested and reviewed.
  • Drafting content strategy for 50th Anniversary online channels.

Next update

University staff and students can find the detailed version of the Digital roadmap on the wiki.

The next version of the Digital roadmap is scheduled for w/c 22 June.

Digital team sprint notes, 28 April - 11 May 2015

📥  Sprint notes

What we did

  • Enabled the adding of multiple, arbitrary team members to a team’s profile.
  • Enabled the adding of multiple, arbitrary social media links to a person’s profile.
  • Added favicons, touch icons & Windows tiles.
  • Conducted 11 task-based user research interviews.
  • Held first content auditing workshop with Faculties.
  • Meet with heads of Professional Services (Dentist, Library, RIS, Student Services, WPO) to introduce the Beta and the process of transition.
  • Technical support received 95 tickets and resolved 87.
  • Content maintenance received 15 requests and 12 were resolved.

What we will do

  • Create first iteration of content categories covering all professional services, learning and teaching, and research activities.
  • Support departments’ content audits.
  • Audit site sections managed by Marketing & Communications.
  • Meet with heads of Admissions, Alumni, Careers, IDPS, Registry, Team Bath, University Secretary
  • Make first forecast of the sequence in which departments will transition.
  • Design and arrange the first user needs analysis workshop.
  • Add the ability to associate content items with more than one department.
  • Iterate the editorial workflow so that is based on a sequence of actions.
  • Create the first iteration of the event content type.


Changes to content maintenance during the beta

📥  Communication

In October, we changed how we look after content maintenance on to make it easier for you to submit tasks and track them.

The new process is working well. In the last six months the content team has completed 224 tasks, helping to support you to keep our content up-to-date.

With the launch of the beta for, from Friday 30 April we're temporarily changing how content maintenance works. This is so we can spend more time supporting lead publishers who are working on transitioning content to the new website.

You can still submit tasks by emailing, but during the beta we are only working on business-critical content.

‘Business-critical’ is any content which is required for the University to function, and if not updated could stop our users from completing tasks or cause us reputation, financial or legal risk. For example:

  • homepage updates
  • clearing and adjustment
  • changes to visa regulations
  • course fees
  • financial statements
  • induction
  • league table ranking
  • changes to travel advice for disabled users.

You should still:

  • report problems with the CMS and website
  • report broken links
  • report factual inaccuracies.

If you’re still not sure you can call me.

If you submit a task and we don’t think it is critical, we’ll email you to ask you for more information before we make a decision.

If we decide the task isn’t critical, we’ll do one of two things:

  • for changes to existing content - we’ll email you, place the work on hold and pick it up after the beta concludes
  • for new content - the Digital team’s management will review the request and arrange a time to meet to discuss how we can support you.

If you have any questions, please get in touch or comment below.


IWMW 2015 - Agile content talk and masterclass


📥  Events, Team

In July Justin Owen, Rhian Griggs and I will join content professionals from across the higher education sector for this year's Institutional Web Managers Workshop (IWMW) at Edge Hill University in Liverpool.

We'll be talking about how to work in an agile way with content. As part of a 3 hour masterclass you'll also get the chance to try-out the tools and techniques we use at Bath.



Digital team sprint notes, 14 April - 27 April 2015

📥  Sprint notes

Stuff we shipped

  • Added language files to the beta CMS to simplify editing of microcopy.
  • Implemented basic user roles.
  • Iterated the "contact details" and "role-related posts held" fields in Person Profile.
  • Added our first instance of a repeatable content element.
  • Added favicons, touch icons & Windows tiles.
  • Iterated the Professional Services taxonomy.
  • A content inventory for Centre for War & Technology section.
  • A draft roadmap for the transition of student recruitment content into the CMS.

Content maintenance received 9 tickets, but completed 22, including some lower-priority but long-standing requests.

Support received 106 and completed 104 requests.

Stuff we will ship

Over the next two-week sprint we will:

  • Produce a first iteration of a taxonomy for which includes all Professional Services, Learning & Teaching, and Research activities.
  • Plan and conduct user research on the editor application with principal publishers.
  • Design and arrange content auditing workshops.
  • Add the concept of organisations which own content to the beta CMS.
  • Iterate our content item status workflow.
  • Allow publishers to add multiple team members to a Team Profile.
  • Allow formatting with Markdown.


Renewing the Library landing page

📥  Style, content and design, User research

We’ve been aware for some time that the Library homepage (or landing page as we've come round to calling it) had been looking tired and over-burdened with links. It also featured a menu system which often provided too many pathways leading to the same destination.

The rationale for the last revamp and ongoing updates had been to provide different pathways to information and services, each of which responding to a different user mindset and/or university role. However, in practice, we found that the presence of so many routes obscured the content and diluted the impact of information on the site as things became buried in various sections of the Library webpages.

Screenshot of the previous Library landing page

The previous Library landing page

Screenshot showing the heatmap of the clickrate on the previous Library landing page

Heatmap of the clickrate on the previous Library landing page

We met with the Digital Marketing & Communications team which helped “shake up” and refresh our expectations for prioritising and re-positioning content. Digital’s hotspot analysis of the Library landing page use played a pivotal role in this review, showing us where people made heavy use of links and where there were barren unused sections of the page and menus.



How we prioritise our requirements for apps

📥  Tools

One of our ongoing programmes of work is improving the way we handle events. Events are managed and promoted in a broad range of ways across the University, using everything from our online store to Google forms and spreadsheets. This can be frustrating for organisers to manage and confusing for users to access - we think we can improve things for both the people who organise our events and the people who attend them.

In November, we spent three week-long sprints developing an events listing app. This was created entirely in-house, but when it came to incorporating a booking system, we decided to look at third parties. In February we set aside another 3 weeks to evaluate event booking apps and do some research with event organisers around the University (more on that later).

Creating our list of requirements

We started with a wishlist of what we wanted this app to be able to do. We ended up with 20 different requirements covering features to help event organisers, event attendees and us.

We also identified a few requirements (like payment) which were out of scope for this sprint, but worth evaluating now for possible future work.


Digital roadmap update for April 2015

📥  Roadmap

Welcome to latest edition of the Digital roadmap update, accounting for progress made in March and our priority plans for April 2015 and beyond.

Progress made in March 2015

  • Developed the basic feature set of our new CMS, so that publishers can create, publish and edit content items.
  • Completed inventories of every section and page on
  • Upgraded Oracle databases to ensure service reliability.
  • Set up Ruby environments on production servers.
  • Audited /study page content, structure and usage, and set out recommendations for their optimisation.
  • Set up features on the Opinion blog to support research-based commentary on General Election.
  • Set up section for the Bath Institute for Mathematical Innovation.
  • Launched new task-based Library landing page.

Plans for April - May 2015

  • Continue development of the new CMS, principally roles and permissions and content types.
  • Progress with auditing the content inventories and develop the content taxonomy.
  • Migrate all our analytics tracking to Universal Analytics.
  • Improve performance of front-end asset delivery.
  • Audit the country pages.
  • Develop our presence on Sina Weibo.
  • Develop our research content strategy.
  • Launch a holding page for our 50th Anniversary activity.

Next update

University staff and students can find the detailed version of the Digital roadmap on the wiki.

The next version of the Digital roadmap is scheduled for w/c 18th May.


Show & Tell, 27 March 2015

📥  Show & Tell

As our beta project starts producing visible results we're making a slight change to the Show & Tell format. Each session will have a presentation of the beta product to date, with a brief overview of the features shipped in the previous sprint.

Beta demo - Ross

In the first of our project updates Ross demonstrated the fledgling CMS Editor, showing how a user can log in and create or edit content.

He also introduced Pivotal (our project management tool of choice) and talked through the backlog for our current sprint giving an overview of how we are managing the work.

CMS usage - Phil

"Who is using our CMS?" A simple question from Rich Prowse, but actually gathering meaningful data proved to be tricky.

Phil took us on a journey down the rabbit hole and showed how we hooked into the CMS authentication components to produce a raw dataset, then used a combination of our training records and person lookup system to add useful context to that data.

We learned that logging interactions within our applications has the potential to be very valuable, that writing detailed documentation is actually useful, and Rich learned to not ask any more questions.

Moving parts - Tom N

I gave an overview of the many different aspects of our beta infrastructure. From version control repositories and continuous integration servers, to the machines the applications run on, and the databases they talk to - all have needed careful configuration for each of the environments we are running.

I went through the building blocks that are now in place to allow us to effectively develop the beta applications.

Events booking discovery - Liam

We have been investigating new ways to book University events and Liam gave us a run-down of the selection process which led us to Eventbrite.

Starting with how we currently book and promote events, the team gathered a range of requirements from our users and organised them into 'must', 'should' and 'could' categories. Our review candidates were prioritised by these requirements and Iris spent a week reviewing the most promising options. By the end, Eventbrite came out as the best option for our needs.

Meanwhile, Kelv spent some time looking at the various APIs and quickly discovered that Eventbrite also won in this field by a clear margin.

Eventbite API - Kelv

Finally, Kelv gave us a demonstration of his work with the Eventbrite API which is expected to form the basis of our eventual application. We want to be able to manage events through our own screens, but to save the event back to Eventbrite.

Kelv gave a quick overview of the important features of a good API and then showed us his discovery work, creating an event and pushing it to Eventbrite.

Why not join us for a future Show & Tell? You can see the forthcoming talks on our agenda page or if there is something specific you want discussed, get in contact and we'll see what we can do.