Branding our e-learning tool

To coincide with the launch of our new Web CMS training module, we created a new branded theme for the e-learning platform Xerte. We wanted something flexible and functional that would suit any potential e-learning application, while effectively implementing the University’s new look and feel.

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Expanding our CMS training toolbox

Here in Communications, it’s our job to train staff across the University to use the Web Content Management System and help them to maintain their respective sections of the University website.

However, we’re aiming to do more than just tell users how to use the Web CMS on a practical level – we want to empower them to make great web pages. Enter our new Web CMS training module: ‘Creating content for the web’.

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Proudly presenting our three new School web branches!

We’ve just completed a mammoth project to deliver web presences for three new academic schools while putting content strategy to the test.

The pages went live on Monday 1 August to coincide with the official launch of the new Schools. It was a tight schedule with lots of problem solving to do along the way. But we’re super proud of how they’ve turned out. Take a look for yourself:

Putting content strategy to the test

Like most big web projects, this project was as much about the people as it was about the content. It was about hearts and minds, listening and negotiating, as we helped the newly formed Schools tell the world about who they are. 

Content strategy toolkit

To help us navigate this complex project we used lots of content strategy tools to help us while working with over 65 stakeholders.

  • Content audit – we started with a thorough understanding of existing content, referring back to this audit throughout the project to help us plan and make decisions
  • Stakeholder interviews – colleagues across the Schools gave us many important insights on audiences, user needs, challenges and much more
  • Content plans – we worked with each School on a content plan to define and document key messages and content decisions
  • Prototypes – we developed prototype layouts with real content – no lorem ipsum in sight!
  • Content crit – we got together as a team to review and refine our prototypes
  • Project steering group – representatives from schools and departments helped shape the approach and decisions, and disseminated information within their areas
  • Content workshops – we held workshops with the Schools to figure out content decisions together
  • Content collaboration tools – among the tools used at various stages of the content creation process was Bugherd. It allowed people to comment straight on the pages – generating over 1,700 pieces of really useful feedback!
  • Quality assurance – we’re developing processes to ensure quality is maintained and improved over time, and so everyone knows what their role is

Above all, listening to and collaborating with our stakeholders is what helped make this project a success. Although challenging, having a hard deadline meant we couldn’t take our eyes off the goalpost. We aimed for progress, not perfection!

Before and after

What’s next?

Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the data and user feedback. We’ll continue to make tweaks and optimise where we need to iteratively. 

So far the data is telling a good story. The new school websites are getting lots of views (more than their constituent departments combined were). At this stage it’s going to be largely because the new pages were widely shared.

We’ll revisit the data in a few weeks so we can see what more ‘normal’ usage looks like. We’ll also look at the impact of content changes on SEO once Google has caught up with indexing all the new pages.

We’ll bring these insights to our own internal debrief where we’ll review and refine the process for the next phase of the project: working with three existing academic departments to redevelop their web presences.

Find out more

Using content groupings to visualise user journeys in Google Analytics.

We are frequently asked how users navigate through our website and it feels like this should be easy enough to answer using Google Analytics. However, knowing how users get from their landing page to their exit page can be a pretty complex question!

Continue reading Using content groupings to visualise user journeys in Google Analytics.