I’ll be leaving the University of Bath on Friday to take up a new position at the University of York. With my departure imminent I have been reflecting on my time here and asking myself if I managed to achieve what I hoped I would.
Naturally I wish I had to been able to do more. We’ve been talking about mobile for years, and the team have had some fantastic ideas, but we haven’t been able to make as much progress as we’d have liked. There are also so many areas of the website and online services that I wish we could have improved but sadly we didn’t get the chance (or the time!) to work 'our magic' during my time here. Still, it gives the new Head of Digital plenty to do.
However I wanted to reflect on what we did achieve party because it’ll be good for my soul (and ego!) and partly because I want my team to recognise what they have done.
I joined Bath shortly after delivering a presentation at the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) in 2007. During that event I delivered a presentation on the exciting projects we worked on at Edge Hill University (my former employer). When I moved to Bath many cynical people told me “don’t expect it to be the same... it’s a very different type of University”. In short… you won’t get to do all that fancy stuff you do at Edge Hill.
In 2008 I returned to IWMW and delivered a presentation on the differences and challenges between the two institutions. I highlighted a number of the issues I’d come across at Bath such as the management of the web being de-centralised, no online branding, a lack of editorial control and no common vision about what the website should do. I then spoke about what we were trying to do to overcome those problems. Again I suspect my talk was met with cynicism “she’s new… she’ll learn… yeah we’ve tried that…” but I was undeterred.
Now I can look back and say that - with the support of my excellent team – we did it!
Our central website is no longer de-centralised so we are able to give a coherent message and experience to our users. We now have a visual identity that underpins the look and feel of everything we do online. We have Editors placed within each Faculty and we have worked with them to completely change each of the Faculty and Department websites. We also have Editors within our team to manage all aspects of the central site and a Content Manager to develop our Content Strategy.
We’ve analysed stats, user behaviour, run focus groups and done usability testing – so much so that we are now fairly confident we have a site that serves as an effective marketing and communications tool. Although there is always plenty more work to be done!
I will miss working with all my colleagues at Bath. During my time here I have had the luxury of working with some of the most creative, passionate and intelligent people I have ever met. I know the team will go on to do great things and I look forward to hearing all about them.
But now it is time for me to hand over the baton to someone else. We are in the process of appointing a new Head of service and with that appointment will come a name change for the team – one that reflects the type of work we now do. So it’s goodbye Web Services and hello Digital Marketing! I look forward to watching in wonder…