Our project to redevelop departmental research pages is underway. We’re redesigning, restructuring and rewriting key web pages to highlight our departments’ research strengths and showcase examples of York research making a difference all over the world.
This is the first project on our research digital developments roadmap. We began the implementation phase of the project in February, working with a few pilot departments. It’s now a few months on and we’re really pleased to have launched the updated Politics and Electronic Engineering pages.
We’ve used our new layouts including some exciting content types that have recently been developed, like the prominent ‘hero images’ used on the landing pages. The new layouts are image rich, have smaller page sizes (which means they’re quicker to load) and have been designed mobile-first from the outset, so they look great on phones and tablets.
Research strengths pages
Before beginning any redevelopment work, we audited the research content that our departments already had. We looked at analytics and set up heatmaps and clickmaps on some pages, which helped us better understand our web users and their journeys.
Something that really stood out was that many visitors are interested in our research strengths: the research areas that we’re working in, and who’s working in them. That’s why these strengths pages are prominently signposted on the landing pages, and why we’ve prioritised working on these pages.
This project is a collaborative process, and we’re really grateful to the academics and support staff who we’ve been working with. Their input has been so important when redeveloping research strengths pages, because no one knows more about the University’s amazing research than those doing it! We’ve worked closely with our collaborators to make sure the new content is web-friendly and captures each department’s unique expertise.
Impact case studies
Research at York is changing the world, and we want to demonstrate this on departmental research web pages. We’re doing this by producing case study web pages which concisely explain a piece of research that has had some form of impact.
The case studies are written for an intelligent but lay audience, so anyone with an interest in the topic can enjoy them. For those looking for more detail, we’ve included the option to link to the full research paper or any other outputs.
We’ve created a page template to ensure the case studies are concise, accessible and consistent. All case studies follow the same structure: the issue, the research and the outcome.
For some examples of the case study template in action, read about how our electronic engineers are teaming up with communities in Vanuatu to develop technology that ensures their drinking water is safe. Or find out how João Nunes from the Department of Politics is working with Brazil’s community health workers, who support mothers of babies with Zika.
University research themes
At the heart of the University’s research are our seven research themes, so they needed to feature on the departmental research web pages. We’re asking each department to select two or three research themes that they work within. From that, we’re building web pages that showcase examples of research related to the relevant themes.
The main image on these pages is an illustration produced by our amazing graphic designers to represent interdisciplinarity and the connections between subjects.
The next phase of our project is in full swing. We’re currently writing content and building new pages for five departments – our second group from a total of six. We’ve also held kick-off meetings with Research Committee Chairs from the next group of departments, and look forward to working more closely with those departments soon.
If you’d like to know when our team expects to work on your department’s research web pages, get in touch with your faculty’s Marketing Manager. We’re aiming to complete this project by the end of September – just in time for a new academic year!