And it's goodbye from him

Posted in: DMC team

After more than a decade, tomorrow is my last day working in the Digital team.

The team's had different names, and I've had different roles, but my mission has always been the same: improve the University's online presence through applied use of technology. While trying to live up to this, I've been privileged to work not just with the developers, but also our editors, product support and designers.

Tech

With our recent work on the Content Publisher I'm happy that the platform and technology for doing that are now better than they've ever been. The team can now continue to build and innovate on top of a solid foundation to provide the University with the web publishing platform that it needs, evolving as user expectations increase over time.

Help

Only a few years ago we had no dedicated support channels - instead we rotated the responsibility for looking after our users around the team. I can hardly remember those dark days any more - we've since introduced standards, reporting and guidance to be proud of. We've still got high ambitions in improving our service here, but with a user satisfaction rating of 96% it seems safe to say we're on the right path.

Words

A much harder problem has been managing the content on www.bath.ac.uk. For a long time there was no governance on how, why or when content was added to the site and so we've found find ourselves with a challenge.

The way we've approached this is to help each department change how it thinks about its web content, and where possible to be guided by our Delivery Principles.

This is no minor undertaking. Michael Slaby, Obama's 2008 chief technology officer, said it better than I could:

It's just change management. It's not complicated; it's just hard.

It's not only hard, but it needs to be continuous - large organisations have a tendency towards inertia that the internet and its users don't. The passion and energy of the people in Digital to take this on this challenge has been critical to our successes. It's something which I've also been amazed to watch them impart to others. The thousand new pages we've published in the last 12 months, and the thousand which are in various states of review and fact-checking right now wouldn't have been possible without the support and energy of all those departments we've been working with so far.

Colours

When most organisations come to revamp their website, the primary focus is on look and feel. What colours does it use? What's the logo? For us it's been something more, a complete change in how we think about the site. A break from organisation-out thinking to be user-in. Most people coming to bath.ac.uk don't know or care about which group is a sub department of which faculty, what they care about is being able to find the right information quickly, and being able to understand it easily. Our research so far has shown that our new templates, navigation and content guidance are doing this. They'll also continue to evolve as more departments come into Content Publisher and I look forward to watching the changes in the future.

Finale

We've had a number of people join the team in the last few weeks and I've been pleased to see them start to discover some of the things that kept me here so long - a variety of projects and products, an opportunity to expand your skills in many direction, a commitment to quality and an amazing team spirit.

I can only hope to find myself in another team with such a selection of hard-working, dedicated and passionate people in my next role. Thank you all.

Posted in: DMC team

Leave a Reply to Chris Shimmin-Vincent

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  • Good luck Phil. You will be missed!