Looking to the past: Rebuilding the History of the University web pages

Having recently joined Communications as Web Content Developer, I was keen to get stuck into the CMS. Luckily, one of my first tasks was to rebuild the History of the University branch on the website. For this quick turnaround project, my colleague Harriet and I had a focus day where we got the bulk of the work done. It was a super fun project and proved to be a real eye opener and a handy learning tool to get to grips with the CMS and the Digital Pattern Library (DPL) content types.

Why a rebuild?

The pages were receiving an increase in traffic due to the University’s 60th anniversary. The content was in legacy Classic templates and we didn’t have a page for the 2010s. It was a timely moment for an update.

Getting started

On our focus day we migrated the existing content into DPL templates. We made minimal changes to the content itself, but moving the pages over to DPL allowed us to rethink the layout. We decided to add prominence to the fantastic range of historic images that came from the York Digital Library, which give a real sense of each of the University’s six decades of history. The focus day proved really productive and gave Harriet and I the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and work through problems together.

The 2010s

Once we’d migrated the old pages over, I turned my attention to creating a new page for the 2010s, sourcing content for the news archive and researching wider national trends and events in higher education for the decade. A shout out to Alex Holland, Paul Shields and Charles Fonge for helping me hunt down images for the 2010s page gallery. I’m delighted with the range of assets we uncovered.

Finishing touches

After working through some finishing touches to make the content flow in the new layouts, there was just one thing missing. We needed a hero image on the landing page to illustrate the University’s vibrant history. We went to the design team with a request to pull a range of historic images into a cohesive montage graphic. Safe to say they delivered. Thank you Sean Gee for your help and expertise with this work.

Tidying up

I’m thrilled with how the new pages have turned out and the project has helped me quickly get to grips with the CMS in a ‘learning by doing’ way (which is my favourite way to learn). Looking ahead, future updates to the branch have been scheduled into our new web editorial calendar in Asana and a governance plan has been put in place.

Dive into the past and explore the history of the University.

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