Show & Tell, November 7 2014

Posted in: Show & Tell

After a false start because of an unexpected change of room, we soon rallied round and managed a good showing in the Digital Team office. We also welcomed visitors from Goldsmiths and Hanna who will be joining the team in January next year.

University of Bath questions – Ross

Ross took us through his findings from using Google Instant which shows results as you type. People ask questions of search engines rather than just putting key words into search these days and Google Instant tries to predict and auto complete searches. This can be hilarious but  also very interesting as it can provide an insight into what people are thinking and asking about us as the results are based on real searches. If you want to try it for yourself to see what happens, try using private browsing for the best results as Google does look at location and what you have previously searched for when it makes its recommendations.

You can find out more information about search engines in general on Search Engine Land  and if you have a bit of spare time check out @GooglePoetics on Twitter which takes the  four suggestions that the Google search box provides when you start typing a query and treats them as a poem.

Security misconfiguration – Tom N

Tom Natt gave us presentation number 5 in his series of 10 presentations about security.

He told us that the technical stack that is used is made up of different elements. If one element is vulnerable then all elements are vulnerable.

Our defence

  • Make sure that the latest security updates are installed.
  • Remove any unnecessary features and plugins.
  • Make sure any default accounts that have been set up have their passwords changed.
  • Make sure security settings are set to appropriate values.

Prospectus reboot – Maree

Maree was our guest presenter this week. Wearing her ‘Student Marketing hat’ and she took us through the changes she has been making to the Prospectus.

She explained that the changes aim to make a better user experience for prospective students by making it more ‘student user friendly’, cutting down some of the general repetition and making it easier to read and a bit more appealing in general.

Testing the changes with focus groups over the next few weeks  will enable Maree to get some feedback to see if any further changes need to be made.

Research review – Iris

A year ago the new research section launched on the website and Iris recently did a piece of work to see how it has been doing. She gave us a brief update.

As part of her review Iris drafted a content strategy statement as there had not been one set for the original section.

She discovered that the number of page views and length of time on the pages had increased but the average session time had decreased. Internal traffic has increased more than external traffic with the news section helping to engage staff and internal visitors whilst external visitors spend more time on the case studies.

In summary the following recommendations have been made:

  • Define a better content strategy statement.
  • Find out who the audience is.
  • Make the most of the increased traffic.
  • Recycle existing content.
  • Continue reviewing progress.

Five rules for better images – Liam

Liam explained in simple terms five rules for better images.

  1. Simplify the scene
    • Keep the subject clear.
    • Only provide the viewer with necessary information.
  2. Fill the frame
    • Focus on the subject.
    • Draw the viewer in.
    • Use elements to frame the subject.
  3. Mind the middle
    • Centre based subjects are boring!
    • Off-centre creates dynamism, but needs balance.
    • Use the rule of thirds, but don’t be bound.
  4. Leading lines
    • Lines create a natural path for the eye to follow.
    • Diagonal lines impart a bolder feel.
  5. Space to move
    • Portaits, we like to look where they are looking.
    • Leave space in front of moving subjects for them to move into.

Spend time looking for relevant images. Rules can be broken but if you have to break them, break one not two or three at the same time.

The next Show & Tell session will be on 21 November 2014.


Posted in: Show & Tell