Show & Tell, August 15 2014

Posted in: Show & Tell

Our Show and Tell had another full billing of five talks. Here's what the team presented.

Professional Services: Challenges and Lessons - Paul

Paul showed us before and after shots of a couple of sites that we had relaunched. These were our Freedom of Information and the Central Stores sites.

There were a multitude of challenges that included dealing with a ten year old Perl script powering inventory.

As well as improving from their original the experiences taught us:

  • be flexible and adaptable
  • no project is the same
  • improve your processes, learn from each project and document this
  • carry out feature review within discovery phases
  • if you need devs, get them on board early

Visas part 2 - Charlotte

Charlotte talked us through the second phases of Visa sprints. This time with information for our current students.

This included information in working visas while studying or after graduating. We also inform on how to extend your visa, visas for traveling abroad and visas for your family.

In the old site the information was dense and of legal importance spread across a lot of pages. These were consolidated into a smaller number of pages. On these pages the information is now presented into smaller chunks by use of accordions. We felt that it was much easier to become lost in the massive number of pages so the accordions here are a good use case. The information is now also grouped together better. The site is now better presented and accessible.

This was helped by closer collaboration with the Visa Advice team. We were able to use Trello as part of our workflow and this seemed to work well.

Injection and broken authentication - Tom Natt

Tom gave his second in a series of talks on security. This instalment explaining how injection attacks work, and how session hijacking can happen.

Tom also gave some good tips on how to defend against these problems including:

  • validate all input
  • whitelist input (say what you'll only accept, not the other way round - that's too much!)
  • get someone else to do it for you!
  • if you only close the tab or window of your browser, the session may still live on
  • lock your computer

Live Chat: Chatting with applicants and offer holders - Matt Alexander

We're very pleased to have Matt, someone from outside the Digital Team, do a talk at our Show and Tell. Here's what I heard Matt tell us on running live chat sessions.

We wanted to do a non-cheesy version of live chats. It had to be high quality like our Open Days. It gives applicants the opportunity to speak to real people. This was especially for the international audiences.

The hard bits were working out the best time to run these with timezones in mind. We also had to think about whether the appropriate technology was available in certain countries.

We also designated clear roles in this. The Marketing team focused on the publicity and organising of the event. Meanwhile the academic departments provided the content.

Our impression is that the majority of attendants converted to studying with us. We need to look into the data in detail to garner more insights.

Gambling with UX - Miles

Miles was reporting on a talk he attended at UX Bristol by Alastair Somerville called Exploring Habits & Interaction through the casino experience.

The highlights of this talk showed that the UX of a website can look to the casino experience on how to draw in users and engage more. It mentioned an interaction cycle that begins with the Trigger, leading to Action, providing a Variable Reward and garnering a sense of Investment which then loops back.

There were also marvellous examples of the psychology and UX in use where the dazzling and spectacular frontage of casinos provide the "nudge" to entice people. Then there are the grandeur of the casino halls that provide "gravity". Then the "angle" such as providing free drinks and free chips and finally reducing "friction", reducing the barriers to your tasks. Some casinos go so far as to provide adult nappies so you don't leave your slot machine for any sort of break.

All principles that can potentially be applied to the UX of a website.

Posted in: Show & Tell