Making change happen web pages

In October, we launched a new set of web pages which bring together resources on change management for University teams. The project proved once again why content is key!

Here are the Making change happen web pages which we worked on with the People and Organisational Development (POD) team within HR.

Like all universities (and humans in general) we face changes big and small on a regular basis. These web pages and the resources they link to were compiled to help enable successful change at York.

This blog post is a quick case study of how the project went and why it went well.

The brief

First we had a solid brief to work from. In particular, we had a clear articulation of the business needs of the project from the POD team:

  • Increase change capability of leaders and managers
  • Create shared understanding of what good change looks like
  • Provide self-serve access to support and resources to enable good change
  • Being able to approach the same set of resources from different perspectives

Core user story

From those business needs, we created a user story to articulate in human terms the challenge to be solved:

“As a manager or leader at the University, I need resources to help me implement a change within my team. I need to learn about change management at my own pace. I need to know about the fundamentals of change management and/or and top up on areas I’m less familiar with.”


From those business needs and to meet the requirements of the user story, we and POD determined the outputs would be:

  • A framework of change principles for York and an approach that leads teams through key components of change
  • A collated and curated set of resources that support development of behaviours and skills associated with change management
  • Web presence providing self-serve access to support and resources

Embracing the CMS

A key goal for the self-serve resources was being able to approach the same set of resources from different perspectives.

The original idea was to use fancy widgets and tagging functionality. The downside of this was that doing so would involve using another web platform (outside of our Web CMS).

This would mean it wouldn’t be part of our core website experience and would be harder to find and maintain over the long term. So we agreed sticking with the main Web CMS would be best.

Our Digital team didn’t have capacity to build any bespoke templates but we knew we could still create a good user experience with what we’ve already got, because…

Content is key

This project was all about putting content at the heart of it, by really thinking through structures and content format.

Structure planning 

The resources would need to appear across two main categories initially:

  1. Change principles – such as how to share a vision or how to nurture innovation and ideas within a team
  2. Phases of change – relates to the phase of a change, from planning it through to embedding it into the daily life of a team

We looked at different ways we could use existing CMS content types and functionality. We decided building a hierarchy around the change categories and ‘mirroring’ the content would work well.


Content models

Next we developed content models. This is a structured way of presenting content.

We got really familiar with the change management resources, so we could work out how we could present them in a neat, consistent and user friendly format.

We developed models for the three types of pages we would need. Our colleagues in POD used these models to compile and create the information we needed to form the web content.

Category resources pages

The purpose of these pages is to provide the resources in a concise and easy to understand way.

Each page has a brief introduction and key factors to set the scene. Each resource is a separate piece of content in the CMS which can then be mirrored as necessary to other category pages. 

The content model was mocked in Google Docs first
Screenshot of the shared vision web page
The resources category page shows the content model in action

Category signposting pages

These pages introduce the main categories. We’ve used panels to link to the subcategories pages where the resources are housed.

Screenshot of the phases of change web page

Landing page

The landing page explains what the resources are for and how to use them.

Screenshot of the making change happen landing page.

Focus day

Getting all our ducks in a row with the content planning meant the build was easy and fun!

I worked with my brilliant and super helpful colleague, Reena, to build and edit the content in the CMS. We did this all in one day. It was so good to be able to focus on one project all day. And we got it all done!

Review and sign off

After that we had one round of stakeholder feedback and then a final sign off meeting. Content changes during review and sign off were minimal, thanks in large part to the content modelling stage earlier in the process.

Our stakeholders were really pleased with the process we’d supported them through and the end result.

What’s next?

For the next phase, we’ll be working with the Strategic Planning and Performance team and IT Services to migrate more resources into the new framework we’ve developed. 

We’ll also be adding short quotes and testimonials from leaders and managers who have used the resources for a change in their team. We’re looking forward to seeing these and hearing about how useful the resources are in practice.

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