Schools and departments web content – introducing the project

We’re excited to introduce a new project we’re working on to help showcase the University’s three new schools and existing departments to the outside world through attractive, engaging and informative web content.

I’ve recently re-joined the Communications team in the new role of Web Content Specialist. A big focus of the role is content strategy and content governance. This means looking at the entire content lifecycle – from an idea through to how it’s created and then maintained. 

Content strategy isn’t a policy or a standalone document; it’s a way of working. It helps us ensure that our content supports real objectives and meets real user needs. We’ll be thinking about all of these things as we tackle this big project.

Who’s involved?

It’s a collaborative project with a small but perfectly formed group of content, UX and Analytics experts in Communications. We’ll be working closely with schools, departments and other stakeholder groups such as Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions and Outreach (MRAO).

Goals

Our overarching goal is to convey and bring to life the vision of the new schools to a range of target audiences, through high quality user-focused web content.

The new schools is the main driver for the project however we’re also using it to develop a framework that works for all academic departments. So another big goal is to create a scalable way to achieve this for departments who wish to take part.

Discovery and planning

We’re taking a two pronged approach to defining our content strategy. We’re combining the knowledge of our internal stakeholders with data to understand users. Here are some of the things we’ve done so far or are working on now:

  • Content audit (Nov 2021) – this revealed we have ~7,000 web pages across the six departments in the new schools, and we’re struggling to keep them up-to-date
  • Google Analytics – only 3% of the 7,000 pages had more than 1,000 annual views (1 Sept 2020 to 1 Sept 2021)
  • Competitor analysis – our sites are hefty compared to many of our main undergraduate competitors
  • Top tasks exercise – through this piece of work we’ll get a detailed understanding of what our users are trying do and what the most important tasks are. This will inform content structure and content hierarchy decisions
  • User research – we’re setting up user testing to uncover how our users are really using our current web content
  • Stakeholder interviews – we’ve gathered a wide range of views and insights which will feed into the approach

Direction of travel

We’re working on a recommended direction of travel based on the findings from the research and discovery phase. Detailed content planning will follow where we’ll ‘chunk up the content’ into mini workstreams. This will include workshops that focus on understanding and developing specific ‘content themes’.

There is no getting away from the challenging timescale and resource constraints. So we’re aiming to come up with an iterative approach for some content areas.

We’ll be presenting the plan to our stakeholder steering group which will meet for the first time later this month. We’ll also publish the plan on our Wiki page linked to below.

Find out more and stay up-to-date

Further information

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