Update: Improving the effectiveness of the University's website

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Dear Web-Maintainers,

Earlier this year details of a University-wide Web Content Review were published and I subsequently emailed you all to alert you to the changes.

Since the announcement we have been working hard to put some of these changes in place so I would like to update you on our progress.

Phase 1 is almost complete and the following changes have been implemented:

Objective 1: Faculty Web Editors are going to be appointed as part of the support service team to be established at Faculty level.

Web Editors have been appointed for the Faculties of Science and Humanities & Social Sciences. It is anticipated these people will be in post by the autumn.

The position for the Faculty of Engineering & Design has been re-advertised and we hope to interview for this post in early August.

Objective 2: Additional resource is going to be placed within Web Services to support the creation and management of content across our website.

Two new posts have been created for Web Services to support this objective. Jenni Taylor joined us from the University of Glamorgan to take up the post of Web Content Editor and Mike Godleman will commence work next week as the Web Content Manager.

Further to these appointments some of the posts in the existing team have been restructured to enable us to focus on the internal and external content simultaneously.

Phase 2

The next phase will see us develop an institutional framework for web structure and content, review our training provision and complete the online visual identity guidelines.

We will also begin to look at the internal structure of the site with a view to providing easier access to information and services. We will of course consult widely as we go through this process but this change will mean a move away from a single website for every professional service department. Instead we will work with you to develop content, aggregating where appropriate, to build a structure that will guide our users to the relevant information.

The work involved in improving the effectiveness of our website is substantial. The 404 (file not found) page is our 6th most accessed page and our search has to trawl over 250,000 pages (many of which have not been updated for over five years) to find what you may be looking for.

Information is currently structured by department, so an understanding of our complex University structure is required before you can locate the information you need.

These things have to change and we plan to change them.

As you will see from our website this process have already begun. Focusing on our external site we've created new areas for Study (Recruitment) and Research. We've also introduced new tools to allow greater collaboration (e.g. inPictures) and sharing of content (e.g Play). These developments all feed into the same objective; to ensure our site is engaging, informative and user-friendly.

This project has to be our top priority. As a result it does mean we cannot provide the level of support you may have been used to. We will continue to offer training and assistance for those of you maintaining websites in our CMS. If things are broken we'll fix them but what we cannot do, at the moment, is support feature developments or new initiatives that may only benefit a small group of our stakeholders.

I will continue to update you as we go through this process but if you have any questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Alison Kerwin
Head of Web Services

Posted in: Archive