Digital team rewind 2014

Posted in: Digital transformation

Tis almost time to down tools and raise the first of many glasses of mulled wine. Before we do, there’s just enough time to reflect on the 12 months that have just flown by.

The entire story can be relived through our weekly sprint notes. But because that's an epic read, let’s make do with the team's highlights.

People come first

We were sorry to say goodbye to our friends and colleagues, Lara and Miles. But we were very happy to welcome Charlotte, Iris, Miao and Rhian, who joined the Content team. They are amazing talents and we've come on a long way since they joined.

Cracking content

The Content team worked flat out to embed user-centred content design principles across the University’s publishing community. There were some notable successes, especially amongst our professional services teams who now have webpages that address user needs and that they can edit directly without having to rely on Digital.

The Content crew did a great job of installing structured content templates wherever they could, making publishing quicker and more consistently good. Developing and establishing their new image and writing style guides for bath.ac.uk also helped massively in this respect.

Moving up a gear

2014 saw the team transformed into able producers of digital products and services that are developed expressly with the needs of University of Bath users in mind. We’ve adopted a new infographic roadmap to keep everyone on campus up to date with what’s planned by way of new digital communications and how we are progressing against our plans.

We can be proud of our efforts in tightening up on the monitoring, analysis and reporting of our infrastructure performance, sprint velocity, support levels and content maintenance. Keeping track of the numbers is keeping us honest; it’s helping us raise our game and make better use of our time and energy.

The development team also deserve high praise indeed for smoothly piloting our transition to Github (for source code management) and Bamboo (for managing builds and test). They’ve also taken huge strides in developing their language and framework capabilities, especially Ruby, which has become the new go-to for our application development. Their work this year opens up some tantalizing possibilities going forward.

All new shiny

New landing pages for Students and Alumni, as well as substantial rolling improvements to Research were all based on extensive user research and all proved to be excellent test beds of innovation. Our lovely new blogging platform has also provided a platform on which to test new approaches, as well as serving its primary function as an font of valuable insight from our researchers and their fascinating projects.

The Alpha of a new publishing platform - which includes a CMS developed in-house, as well as new content types and page templates - has been our biggest, scariest and most exciting undertaking of the year. Everyone in the team has been involved, which is great, and we are also indebted to our colleagues in Marketing & Communications, Computing Services and the Faculty digital teams for their input and support.

We cannot wait to launch the Alpha in January, learn from feedback from staff and students and then use this to guide the Beta that will entirely replace the old bath.ac.uk beginning in Spring 2015.

Going bravely forth

We have so much to look forward to in the new year. It's safe to say there's some nervous excitement in the team but I have every confidence in each and every one of my team’s ability to deliver.

Plus we'll have some extra help. Our new Web Editor for Business & Research, Hanna, will join us in early January. That will take the number of people in our squad up to a healthy 16.

In addition to moving our publishers onto a fresh new CMS, our prospectus publishing will also move to a shiny new application. Event listings will also benefit from an overhaul and users should experience a big improvement in event booking and ticketing.

Overseas users of bath.ac.uk will benefit from a new level of internationalisation, while all users will enjoy significantly better site search on top of a leaner, simpler site structure.

Have a good one

Lots to look forward to next year. But let’s not wish this year away quite yet. First there are a few festive matters to attend to.

We will wish all our blog followers and our colleagues and the students of University of Bath a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I'm still waiting on my ideal Christmas present
He's still my ideal Christmas present

Posted in: Digital transformation