• The state of the migration

    Where we were

    I thought it might be helpful just to give a brief overview of how the web improvement project is going. When we started the project back in 2017, our web presence as a University was in a poor state in general. We had almost 540,000 content items being indexed by Google with only 36,000 of them actually present on the corporate website which itself was on failing infrastructure.

    So have things got better?

    Where we are

    We’re now looking at just over 154,000 items being indexed by Google which is a huge decrease in the amount of content that is floating around out there and potentially doing us harm. The main corporate website itself has reduced in weight also with just over 23,000 items now present on it. That’s made up of around 14,000 pages plus additional documents and assets. Back in 2017, only 3,000 of them would get more than one hit per day, that’s now more than doubled to over 6,000.

    It was more than just a clean up though, we started completely rebuilding the site from scratch in 2019 and reworking and migrating content to the new systems and templates. Of the 14,000 pages, over 11,000 of them are now on the new platform with only 3,000 remaining. In terms of traffic, by the end of this month we should see around 80% of our traffic go through the new platform.

    That migration has seen the team engage with a huge range of stakeholders, with us working closely with just about every school and every professional directorate since that migration began. We rewrote all our undergraduate, postgraduate, short and upskilling course pages. We’ve produced almost 270 new guides that have been used over 66,000 times in the last month alone. We’ve migrated nearly 300 policies and procedures that are used 20,000 times every month. We’re now integrated with core business systems to provide clean and automatic data for our people, courses and modules and harmonising data sets between systems to facilitate future innovation. All at a time where we’re having to react and innovate to new and emerging trends that the pandemic is presenting us with.

    Search was also a key item that we needed to improve and since we moved completely to the new system our latest analysis on search is showing that people are using search more but having to search less when they are using it due to better results and that far fewer people are exiting search without finding what they are looking for.

    Where we’re going

    There’s always more to do though and as we reach the end of the initial migration by the end of this year (fingers crossed and pandemic permitting!) we get into an exciting stage of iteration and innovation on the solid foundations that we’ve built so far. Personalisation anyone?!

    For those still reading and interested, here’s a list of all the sections that have already gone live.

    • /about
    • /accommodation
    • /agents
    • /announcements
    • /applicants
    • /architecture-urban-planning
    • /athena-swan
    • /biomedical-engineering
    • /business
    • /cahid
    • /cais
    • /cepmlp
    • /chaplaincy
    • /chat-to-us
    • /civil-engineering
    • /collections
    • /computing
    • /contact
    • /coronavirus-fundraising
    • /dentistry
    • /discover-dundee
    • /doctoral-academy
    • /download
    • /dundee.ac.uk homepage
    • /engineering
    • /english
    • /enquirers-applicants
    • /equality-diversity
    • /error
    • /esw
    • /events
    • /facilities
    • /festive
    • /geography-environmental-science
    • /graduate-apprenticeships
    • /graduate-showcase
    • /graduation
    • /health-service
    • /help4u
    • /history
    • /humanities
    • /industry
    • /information-governance
    • /international-advice-service
    • /issr
    • /it
    • /languages
    • /law
    • /locations
    • /mathematics
    • /mechanical-electronic-engineering
    • /medicine-graduation
    • /nursery
    • /online-learning
    • /open-days
    • /parkinsons
    • /philosophy
    • /physics
    • /politics-international-relations
    • /projects
    • /prospectus
    • /psychology
    • /rankings
    • /returning-to-campus
    • /scholarships (landing page only)
    • /science-engineering
    • /search
    • /social-sciences
    • /strategic-planning
    • /student-support-team
    • /the-bridge
    • /undergraduate overviews only
    • /university-executive-office
    • /virtual-tour
    • /water
    • /web-services
    • /welcome
  • The effectiveness of search

    As mentioned in our blog post “Searching, looking for content”, we had search at the core of the project to replace the website.

    During the top task workshops that we ran in 2017, we heard from people loud and clear that they didn’t like the website search facility. Therefore, we knew we would have the improvement of search at the core of the project.

    From the blog post “Searching, looking for content”.

    A key objective that we wanted to achieve from any search system was to allow people to get to the correct information faster without getting fed up and leaving the site. The question is, have we achieved it?

    Continue reading…
  • Searching, looking for content

    We changed our website search facility to make it faster and easier to find content.

    Continue reading…
  • Web team round-up of 2020

    In a year like no other where our lives have been turned upside down, one thing that hasn’t changed is the demand on our time to support critical areas of the business. This year was already shaping up to be a very busy one as we progressed with the web refresh project, but 2020 had quite a number of curve balls of its own.

    Continue reading…
  • Tackling policies and corporate information on the University website

    Policies. You may not have noticed but we’ve got a lot of these on the website. Not just policies but other types of corporate information like procedures, regulations, disclaimers, reports, rules, statutes, templates, codes of conduct, classification schemes, privacy notices – stay with me this gets much more interesting, I promise.

    Continue reading…
  • Where did the last year go?

    It’s just over a year since we started launching content on our new content management system. Our initial focus was on building the blocks of functionality and content that make up individual areas with our focus now moving onto migration of content. Here’s a quick summary of where we are.

    Continue reading…
  • Moving towards remote working

    We live in uncertain times and it seems that perhaps at some point, we might need to start working remotely. Whilst this poses many challenges, my team has been gradually moving to a location-agnostic way of working over the past couple of years. I wanted to share exactly what that looks like on a daily basis in case it’s of use to any other teams. We have not completely cracked this, but some of our experiences might help others during these times.

    Continue reading…
  • Recent accessibility enhancements

    We are working towards ensuring the University’s websites are fully accessible for everyone – and legally compliant – by September 2020.

    We aim to make our websites accessible to everyone in the following ways:

    • Perceivable: Making text and media perceivable for everyone
    • Operable: Helping users navigate content
    • Understandable: Making and media text understandable
    • Robust: Maximising compatibility

    We performed an accessibility audit recently. Performing an accessibility audit is part of the process of assessing where we are not achieving the above aims. Continue reading…

  • Displaying our awards and accolades

    Awards and accolades on the homepage

    Following on from the great news that we have been named the University of the Year for Student Experience by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, we have updated the homepage to highlight some of our major awards and accolades that help to show we are a fantastic choice for students. 

    Screenshot of the updated homepage


    Upcoming change to course pages

    We will shortly be adding awards and accolades to our course pages.
    Continue reading…

  • What’s so great about the new people pages?

    Staff profiles are one of the most hotly debated pieces of functionality that we have tackled on the new University website. We know that with almost 3,800 members of staff, we will have almost as many opinions about what they should and shouldn’t include and how they should look. It was important to hear as many of those opinions as possible which is why we’ve spent almost a year gathering information, developing prototypes and seeking feedback from a variety of people.

    Continue reading…