• How we’ve been preparing for this transformation…and a thank you

    Last week we announced our new CMS supplier and partners, marking the end of a three year journey and the start of a new one. We’ve also explored our thoughts around how we’re planning to migrate our content. As we work with our new partners over the coming weeks, that will become even clearer. This work will build on the planning and preparation that we started over a year, much of which has been covered in our blog.

    The above hasn’t been completed in isolation nor is it all just waiting in the wings for the new site. We’ve already been applying these principles and practices as we’ve worked with the University community. We’d like to thank the hundreds of staff and students who have given their time freely to submit top tasks, take part in design sprints, feedback on prototypes, and work with us writing content in the Web Services office.

    We will necessarily move into a higher gear over the coming months to bring about this next stage of the website transformation project and we’ll continue to do that in collaboration with our stakeholders. If you want to be involved then please sign up for a design sprint, or follow the progress in our newsletter.

  • Introducing our new CMS platform and partners!

    It has taken us almost nine months of hard work, but after a very intensive and thorough procurement process, we’re thrilled to announce that we have selected the Drupal CMS, running on the Acquia platform with our new implementation partners Manifesto…and I couldn’t be more excited!

    Why Drupal?

    Drupal is a CMS that is used by some of the biggest and most complex sites in the world including 71 of the top 100 Universities in the world. It has one of the largest open source communities in the world with over 1,000,000 passionate developers, designers, trainers and strategists using it and working together on common problems. It gives us a hugely powerful platform on which to innovate and deliver incredible experiences that not only bring people to Dundee, but also takes Dundee to the world.

    Why Acquia?

    Acquia is a platform built specifically to run Drupal, with its founder and CTO being the person who first created Drupal. They power some of the highest traffic sites in the world like the Oscars and Grammys and are used by institutions like the University of Oxford and every Ivy League school in the US. They provide a fast, secure and resilient architecture that will allow us to deliver fast and high-quality experiences to our users across the globe. Acquia has also been named as a leader in the CMS field by Gartner for the fifth year in a row.

    Why Manifesto?

    One of the core principles of this project is that we will not parachute a company in to deliver something who then leave us holding the ball. We wanted a partner that would not only enhance our existing capabilities but wherever possible transfer knowledge into the team. Manifesto are an agency that have worked with large charities, local and central government as well as a variety of other companies. What impressed us most was how far they go to not only understand their clients, but to embed themselves in teams as they deliver projects.

    What next?

    Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sitting down with Acquia and Manifesto to work out exactly what we will be delivering and when. This is a mammoth task and will take time to get right, but we’ll be open and transparent about the progress as we have always have been. There will be no big bang launch, but rather a phased go-live where we release the new as we decommission the old.

    Get involved

    We had hundreds of responses to our Top Tasks Analysis last year, and this year our fortnightly design sprints have had 10-20 people from across the University attending each time. The datasets and prototypes produced from these are freely available and we’ve been thrilled to see people feeding back on them and adding their own suggestions. The opportunity to be a part of the project will continue as we progress to go-live and beyond.

  • Planning the big move

    From late summer 2018 the work and planning around our new website gathers pace. A supplier and integration partner for the new CMS will be announced in the coming days. This is an incredibly exciting moment as it means we can now push forward and begin to firm up on our plans.

    Moving house

    One of the biggest challenges we face is how we go about migrating web content from the current to the new website. You could say this is a bit like moving home and, like every house move, if we want things to go smoothly we have to spend a bit of time preparing and planning to avoid any unexpected surprises.
    Continue reading…

  • Why we’re thinking of removing the A-Z

    The global A-Z. Such a simple concept, yet such a nightmare. Only the homepage and “just stick it in the” about section are feared more.

    The reason it’s so disliked by us webby types is the list itself tends to be completely arbitrary. There’s no logic to what goes in, what comes out, or why it even exists. In the case of dundee.ac.uk our A-Z started in 1996 as a faculty list. It moved from the homepage to atoz.html early in 97, but by December 97 the rot had already set in.

    I ❤ Excel

    Think about an A-Z list of staff members. How can you sort the list? By surname? First name? Job title? All of these would be a valid way of organising some structured data just like you could do it in a spreadsheet. The same would apply to a course listing, a list of locations, a list of event dates.

    Now think about the University global A-Z. How can you re-sort this? I’ll let you into a secret. You can’t.

    The rule is: unless it is a defined, automated, rule based A-Z it will, quite quickly, become a showcase for who shouts loudest, who forgets, and who cares.

    Continue reading…

  • IWMW 2018 – University of York

    In keeping with recent trends here on the Blog, welcome to our post about IWMW 2018!

    It’s definitely conference season and we’ve been out about, getting the Dundee name out there. While there have been previous posts on conferences with themes of UX and Content, the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) conference is more about the overall HE community and web’s place within it.

    I wrote a post about last year’s event and the sense of community was very much a theme. With that in mind, I am going to, along with some input from some of my colleagues, give you an insight into this trip.

    Continue reading…

  • UX Scotland 2018 Conference

    From 13-15 June, 2018, Steve Burrows (Web Design Manager) and I attended the UX Scotland 2018 Conference in Edinburgh at Dynamic Earth.

    There were a total of 54 keynotes, case studies, workshops, discussions, tutorials and, lightning talks over 3 days. Both of Scotland’s unicorn companies, Skyscanner and FanDuel, were in attendance. Along with Instagram, Shopify, Indeed, and NHS Digital, to name a few.

    Continue reading…

  • ContentEd 2018

    ContentEd is a two-day conference on content strategy in the education sector. 2018 is its second year, bringing together content strategists and marketeers from all over the world to address current challenges, explore trends, and talk solutions.

    This year, the Dundee contingent comprised Pete and Morag from the web team, and Lucy from Marketing.

    Overall impressions

    Continue reading…

  • What happens after the Design Sprint prototyping and testing?

    The Design Sprints are producing some brilliant ideas, most of which are being voted highly and making it into the prototypes for testing with prospective students, current students, and staff.

    Check out the prototypes.

    Continue reading…

  • Design Sprint #7 review (Course comparison)

    Our seventh Design Sprint took place on 8th May 2018. The problem we came together to solve was: “As a potential student I would like to compare two or more courses”.

    Day 1, Morning : reviewing the problem together

    The first part of the Design Sprint saw Steve and Rob presenting some background information about the problem. Course comparison tools are becoming popular on the web and help a potential student make a more informed decision. This is due to the fact the tools allow them to show courses side by side on a single screen without the hassle of going through different prospectuses etc.
    Continue reading…

  • 8 things we’ve been reading recently

    Every week we share loads of articles within the team about web and digital stuff. Some of it news, others just fab things we’ve found. We thought if you’re interested enough to read this blog, you might just be interested enough to read these stories too, so here are eight of our favourites from the last month or so…

    Continue reading…

  • Design Sprint #6 review (Accommodation)

    Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun, interactive problem-solving sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members. For more information, read Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    Our sixth Design Sprint took place on 24 April 2018. The problem we came together to solve was: ‘How can we improve the accommodation selection process for applicants?’

    Continue reading…

  • Design sprint #5 review – country pages

    Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun, interactive problem-solving sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members. For more information, read Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    Our fifth Design Sprint took place on 10 April 2018. The problem we came together to solve was: ‘What information should a country page provide to meet the needs of the audience?’  Continue reading…

  • Design Sprint #4 review (School pages)

    Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun, interactive problem-solving sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members. For more information, read Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    Our fourth Design Sprint took place on 27 March 2018. 14 people from across the University gathered together with Steve (Design Manager) and myself (UX Manager) from the Web Services Team. There were however 5 people that booked that didn’t show 😞 Continue reading…

  • Design Sprint #3 review (course pages)

    Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun, interactive problem-solving sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members. For more information, read Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    Our third Design Sprint took place on 13 March 2018. 16 people from across External Relations, School of Medicine and Business Transformation gathered together with Steve (Design Manager) and myself (UX Manager) from the Web Services Team.  Continue reading…

  • Form audit

    Recently, we received an email from one of our suppliers, Form Assembly.

    Form Assembly do web forms. You may not have known it but you might have seen their product here, here and here.

    In essence, we build the form in Form Assembly and then through an elaborate array of levers and pulleys, it ends up on the website.

    As you may have noticed, we’re in an era of big change. In our plan to relaunch the website it makes sense that we look to improve the way we implement forms

    Continue reading…

  • Vision for Web – Procurement

    We have been planning for some time that the best option in order to fix our web presence, is to completely start from the ground up and essentially ‘starting again’.

    To fulfil this vision, we knew we could not fit our wishes around the processes or infrastructure we currently have and has been in place since 2008. We would need to start with a blank canvas or clean slate and build everything from scratch exactly to the way we require now and in order to achieve these aims for the future.

    Continue reading…

  • Launch of Engineering pages

    We have just finished working with colleagues in Marketing and Engineering to create a new set of web pages. This project was significant for us as it marked a change in the way we deal with common stumbling blocks.

    Continue reading…

  • Design sprint #2 review (subject pages)

    This week we ran our second design sprint, with the focus now on ‘subjects’. It was my first experience of a design sprint and it was fascinating to see how the day unfolded and the different ideas that staff and student participants brought to the session.

    Problem: ‘How do we better serve users who want subject level information?’
    Continue reading…

  • A review of our first Design Sprint (solving the staff profile problem)

    Not sure what a Design Sprint is? These are fun, interactive problem-solving sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members. For more information, read Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    Our first Design Sprint took place on 13th February. 12 people from around the University gathered together with Rob (UX Manager) and myself (Design Manager) from Web Services.

    We spent a fun and informative day working together trying to solve one of the many problems we face as we create a new university website. The challenge we set ourselves for the day was solving this problem: How do we help people find staff information?
    Continue reading…

  • Revamping the IT suite availability screen

    Why are we making a change?

    We have over 2,000 computers for students across our campuses: about 800 of these are in locations accessible to everyone. To help our students find a free computer we take information from our IT suites about how many computers are in use and how many are currently available. We display this information around campus on our IT suite availability screens. Many of our IT suites can also be booked using the central room booking system.

    Our existing availability screens weren’t able to show room booking information, so a room which might not be available due to a class being taught might well show as having computers available to use.

    Continue reading…

  • Getting to grips with user stories and top tasks on the Alpha

    Creating content based on the top tasks of our users makes a lot of sense. The basic principle is that you can create a great user experience for the majority of visitors to your website if you focus on a relatively small subset of tasks. People come to our website looking to do stuff. They have decided that time spent looking on our pages is an investment and it will deliver them some sort of benefit. There’s a limit to their patience though (think seconds rather than minutes) so it’s important we give them the content they need. Fast.

    We know how to supply this information – through well written and carefully structured content of course! But as content specialists we need to think about the bigger picture as well, and the process of writing content for the Alpha has forced us to ponder some questions about our approach.

    Continue reading…

  • Join a Design Sprint to shape future website experiences

    As part of our continuing work on the new University website, we are undertaking a series of Design Sprints. These are fun, interactive sessions with students, staff, and other key audience members.

    Most organisations know what their biggest challenges are. Although, if you ask around, you may find that everyone has a slightly different interpretation of them. And without a shared understanding of a problem, it’s really hard to get to a solution.

    That’s where the Design Sprint can help.


    What is a Design Sprint?

    A Design Sprint is a structured ‘design thinking’ process that translates business objectives into actionable insights in just a few days.

    The aim of each Sprint is to fully understand a problem and generate design ideas as possible solutions. A prototype is then built in one day (a prototype is a working demo of the solution based on the best idea). The prototype is tested with real users, generating feedback at a very early stage without building the full product or website.

    Continue reading…

  • Accessibility in a design system

    This post continues our series about our new design system as part of the University of Dundee’s website relaunch.

    What does accessibility mean?

    Accessibility for digital products like websites, emails, and apps is measured in four different ways:

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

    Accessibility has always been something we have considered as part of our work in the Web Services team. As you will have hopefully heard, we are relaunching the University website. This is a fresh start and an ideal chance to look at how we can ensure the new website is fully accessible.

    Continue reading…

  • Pair writing for the web

    What is it?

    Pair writing is a method we have been using to help us gather content. We work alongside subject experts in short sessions and write together.

    I recently worked with Anne-Marie Greenhill from the Academic Skills Centre to rewrite the content for their webpages and she wrote:

    Working with colleagues to complete specific tasks is common practice for some of us in the Academic Skills Centre so it was interesting to collaborate in this way with the web team. We had our requirements about what visitors to our site would need to know and the web team had to consider the overall development of the University’s web pages. Writing together gave us a better understanding of what these entailed.

    Continue reading…

  • Web Support

    Last year we got in touch to let you know we will continue to support you during the Alpha Project. We asked you to use help4u@dundee.ac.uk so we could respond to your web requests.

    Thanks to you we have had:

    2000 calls assigned to the web team over the past year

    30% of the calls came from External Relations, our number 1 customer

    50 calls resolved in a week, our highest so far

    1 hour to assign calls to the best person who can help you

    Our most common feedback is “Wow that was fast!”

  • The importance of colour

    In any area of design colour plays a huge role from print to digital media. Colour can help convey different emotions, capture target audiences and communicate action. In our design system, colour was one of the first areas we looked at for moving forward. This will ensure we have a good basis or building block for all the work we are going to cover. Colour will help convey user interaction and different elements and components on the page. It will also play a major roll on the overall impression of the new site when a potential student visits the site for the first time.

    When deciding on the appropriate colour for a website, consideration should be given to the target audience. The colour used for a product focused on the elderly may not fare well with teens or younger generations. Also, over use of extremely bright colours like red, yellow, blue etc. causes eye fatigue and could drive visitors away. As a university, our audience is diverse. This includes a wide range of nationalities and age ranges that we need to take into consideration.

    Choosing a colour scheme for a site should be a careful thought process and also take into consideration people with disabilities to allow your information to be available to everyone. Coupled together with colour theory a colour palette should convey a message or ideology, and also make that experience on the end user side memorable.

    Continue reading…

  • 99 problems but my grid ain’t one

    What is a grid system?

    a structure comprising a series of horizontal and vertical lines, used to arrange content

    Nearly all sites these days are designed upon a grid system for laying out elements on the page. It allows us as designers to provide a system that can work with a solid structure and present content and imagery in a much more readable, manageable way. Grid systems have always been used in the printing industry as standard but their transition into web design has allowed web designers to achieve a level of consistency which would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

    The grid system will inevitability be invisible to the end user but it will allow for a site that users will find easy to navigate, read and understand. This is very important as a lack of alignment of elements is very noticeable and creates a sloppy impression. This might very well result in a lack of trust from users who visit your site.

    Continue reading…

  • Managing design at scale consistently – introducing our digital design system

    As you may have heard or read about, we are currently restructuring, rebuilding and redesigning the university website.

    As Design Manager within the Web Services team, this is one of the most significant projects of my time here so far. In fact, it will be one of the biggest challenges of my 14-year career. And I’ve wrestled with HTML nested tables and Internet Explorer 6…

    So I’ve been thinking about how we can prepare for this challenge. What have been the common design-related problems on projects in the past? What are the issues affecting design that typically come up in a large project? What can we do to prepare for the significant amount of design work that will be part of this project?

    Continue reading…

  • What our applicants really want from our website

    As we’ve said in previous posts, we’ve spent a lot of time collecting user stories relating to the audiences using our website (view the results). That gave us a lot of information, but it doesn’t really tell us what the really important tasks are for users (top tasks) and what are the not so important tasks (tiny tasks). This is where the next phase of our research comes in.

    We’ve identified three distinct primary audiences that our website has to work for.

    There are a number of other audiences that don’t fall into these categories, but they represent a smaller proportion of traffic. Whilst we will be keeping them in mind as we develop, and will be delivering specific solutions for them in the future, the above audiences are our initial focus.

    Continue reading…

  • What staff really want from our website

    I’ve covered the background to this research in my post about what prospective students want from our websites.

    Continue reading…

  • What current students really want from our website

    I’ve covered the background to this research in my post about what prospective students want from our websites.

    Continue reading…

  • Scottish Web Folk

    There are many ways to spend a sunny Friday afternoon in October, but by far the best way, last Friday at least, was in the company of almost 50 web professionals from 12 different institutions across Scotland.

    Continue reading…

  • T4 Infrastructure Changes

    We’re taking the opportunity to bring the infrastructure that supports our Content Management System (CMS) [TerminalFour/T4] into line and fix some issues that we’ve had with our setup for a number of years. In the past we’ve had neither the time, resources or the chance to address it, until now.

    Most users won’t have noticed any issues (as we work very hard to ensure that you don’t) but inside the web team, these issues have an impact on a regular basis. We have two main problems:
    Continue reading…

  • 10 Design principles to help us build a better website

    As part of the process of starting again and building a new and improved www.dundee.ac.uk, the design team here in Web Services are making big preparations to make sure we’re ready. Ready for what exactly? Ready to start again and rethink everything we have ever designed. Every button, every text style, every page layout. We’re starting again with open minds, ready to listen to what our users need to help them meet their goals, to get the information they need, to enjoy their experience visiting our website.

    Continue reading…

  • CMS Authentication upgrade

    It’s not flashing lights and glamour all the time in the web team, we do a lot of work which we hope you never even notice going on.

    This week we made some important changes to the way we handle authentication to the CMS. When you sign into the CMS we authenticate you using a protocol called LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). Some time ago now UoD IT introduced a new LDAP server to improve performance and resilience of the service. They’re hoping to decommission the old server soon and so we needed to do some work to keep our CMS up and running!

    Continue reading…

  • Studying Abroad – or “How I learned to stop worrying and love SITS”

    So, three years ago, we moved course pages into the CMS from their former home on our good old-fashioned artisan web server Sky. After that was completed, we began moving Studying Abroad from its three former homes into one.

    It went horribly wrong

    Continue reading…

  • Hemingway app – a free tool to improve your writing

    Do you want to improve your writing for the web and make your copy as bold and clear as possible? Then try running your text through Hemingway Editor. This online app highlights common errors and suggests ways to tighten up your writing and strengthen the copy. It uses principles followed by the writer Ernest Hemingway, who was known for his simple, yet strong and direct, prose.

    In this blog post, I’ve outlined a few ways we can benefit from these principles when we write for the web.

    Continue reading…

  • Staff top task workshops

    Top task outputs

    We had a brilliant time last week running workshops to identify the top tasks that staff need to complete when they visit the website. These were very useful sessions that not only allowed us to gather the crucial data we needed, but also gave staff from across the University a chance to speak to others who share the same frustrations.

    Continue reading…

  • Our first sprint

    One of the principles that is the foundation of the web project is the ability to not only be open in what we do, but also to make things available early and often and continually assess how we’ve performed as a team.

    Agile is a project management methodology that allows us to do just that. Just over a month ago the Web Services team went through Agile SCRUM training that gave us the foundation of knowledge we needed to implement it effectively. Knowledge is one thing, but putting it into practice is a whole other thing!

    We decided to try it on a small project to start with before ramping it up to larger projects. Doing the setup for the alpha project seemed like a prime candidate.

    Continue reading…

  • Getting support during the web restart project

    We have very ambitious plans for the University web presence, and whilst there are lots of things that are uncertain at the moment, we know it’s going to take a lot of work from a lot of people.

    However, we can’t just stop business as usual activities while we do this, so we need to ensure that work continues to be carried out. The key to this is ensuring that we are correctly prioritising tasks and making sure that requests are being routed properly so that they get to the right people.

    We are committed to providing support to all our users from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday, and have dedicated members of staff whose sole purpose is to provide that support.

    To help us, we are asking that everyone logs their calls by emailing help4u@dundee.ac.uk. We use the same system as UoDIT, but calls will be routed through to us.

    Due to the volume of emails we get daily, it’s difficult to keep track of everything we are being sent, so please make sure that you log calls using this address so we can make sure nothing gets lost and we can monitor response times.

    We have clearly defined the criteria we will use to triage calls coming in and these are available in our support policy.

  • Won’t somebody think of the semi-colons?

    The University’s new content style guide is a large resource, and it’s a living document, so it’s only going to get larger. Within it are rules and guidelines covering everything from tone of voice to correct apostrophe use, from word choice to date format. If you find a formatting, style, punctuation or spelling situation not covered by the guide, it’s probably only because we haven’t thought of it yet. It’s really, really big.

    That means it would be very hard for anyone to follow every rule in the style guide all of the time, particularly when there are lots of rules that folk won’t even know they’re breaking. Over time we’ll get better and better at this, of course, but in the meantime it’s worth asking the question: what are the style guide’s main aims? What’s most important?

    Continue reading…

  • Launching the new campus map

    We’ve launched our new campus map and I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss some of the new features it delivers and why we’ve made the change.

    We had a campus map, why did we need a new one?

    The campus map is often the forgotten child of a university website. Seen by many as “just a list of buildings on a map”. For many first time visitors to campus (such as prospective students and freshers) it’s one of the first ports of call in finding their way around. That makes the campus map a valuable tool for conversion and for helping our new students feel more at home.

    Continue reading…

  • Content style guide launched

    This week we’re thrilled to announce the launch of the new content style guide. Forming part of the brand website, we’ve produced the guide so we can take a clear and consistent approach to all the content we produce.

    We’ve laid out some basic principles that should be adopted when writing content:

    • Understand your audience
    • Keep it simple, but don’t patronise
    • Keep it short
    • Show as well as tell

    At the heart of these principles is our intention to create content that helps the person reading it.

    Continue reading…

  • A Canterbury Tale

    Back in July, seven of us from Web Services attended the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) conference, this year held at the University of Kent, in Canterbury. IWMW is, in their own words, “the premier event for the UK’s higher educational web management community” – in essence, a conference for University web and digital teams. As one of the resident newbies in our team, this was my first experience of this particular conference and of the community that is involved in it.

    Continue reading…

  • The PhD user journey

    I was asked recently to look into the way we provide information to prospective PhD students, with a view to improving the way PhD related information is presented on the central University website.

    PhDs are one of those slippery customers with web content all over the shop. Not only is there content both on the University website and on School sites, but over and above that there’s a distinct lack of consensus on whether PhD information belongs under ‘Research’, ‘Study(ing)’, ‘Postgraduate’, or a special category all of its own.

    We aren’t looking to do a massive overhaul of the way we organise PhD information right now: that’s a major undertaking and an awful lot of other things need to be considered first. However, there was a feeling that the central pages could be better organised as they stand, and it fell to me to fix them. (Thanks, Danny.)

    In the spirit of starting-as-you-mean-to-go-on, I thought I’d dip my toe in and do some proper preliminary investigation that would both aid me in solving the issue at hand and stand us in good stead for any epic redevelopment work in the future.
    Continue reading…

  • Why we stopped using ‘please note’

    Writing for the web can be very different to writing for print.  Visitors to your webpages will not be reading the text in the same way as they might read a leaflet or brochure.  Instead they will be scanning the text, picking out key words and phrases, and trying to gauge the meaning of the content in as short a time as possible.

    Imagine you’re driving past a billboard at 60mph in the car.  You can only take in a limited amount of information and there’s no time to mentally process any complicated wording.  Whilst the window of opportunity for a webpage is not quite so narrow, you need to bear in mind that your readers might be racing through your content rather than reading and digesting every carefully crafted word.

    We need to adapt our writing style accordingly.  We don’t want to confuse our readers by using words which are ambiguous, difficult to understand, or which act as obstacles to providing a clear message or straightforward navigation.

    With this in mind, we’ve listed below some words that you should avoid using as these reduce the readability of our content.

    Continue reading…

  • Scholarship search redevelopment

    The Web Service Team, Global Recruitment Team and Applicant Experience Team have been working on updating the scholarship search on our website.

    The first version, which went live in autumn of 2016, didn’t list every subject and country in the world and this sometimes led people to believe there were no scholarships available for their desired selection. This has been resolved with a new country and subject dropdown that you can use to filter the results.

    Continue reading…

  • 2016 Freshers’ Week User Testing


    The Web Services team is a user and data led team. We decided that a great time to do user testing, with new students, was during Freshers’ Week.

    What we did

    A survey was produced to test

    • Open Day attendance,
    • the new 360º Virtual Tour,
    • our communications during the admissions process,
    • social media,
    • matriculation,
    • the website overall.

    Continue reading…

  • Joining the Web Services team

    We’re in the process of recruiting for a Senior Web Developer within the Web Services team (check it out, developers!). I’m now on the other side of the recruitment process, having recently joined the team myself in May as Chief Pixel Pusher (as known as Web Design Manager). So I thought it would be fitting to share my experiences so far.
    Continue reading…

  • School of Business website launched

    Last week we reached the significant milestone of moving a School website into the central web template. The launch of the new University of Dundee School of Business website represents a key strategic component in the University’s transformation vision, building upon strong existing foundations in this area to provide world-class teaching and research in Accountancy, Finance, Economics, Management and Marketing.

    Continue reading…

  • There is no standing still because time is moving forward

    As many of us head off on our summer holidays, it’s always a good time to reflect on the year that has just passed. As we’ve highlighted previously, we’ve got a huge amount to be proud of. This time last year we weren’t even a team, the future held a lot of uncertainty and we had very little clue about where we would end up. It says a lot about the people that make up our team that we’ve managed to come together and do some outstanding work amidst that upheaval. From overhauling the course pages, to reforming our working practices. From embedding user and data led decision making to working more collaboratively with people from across the University. It’s been a busy old year!

    The work we’ve completed are the foundations on which we’ll build the future of the team and the services that we provide. The scale of the task that lies before us is immense, and the more we look at the data, the more real it becomes to us.

    Continue reading…

  • Let’s stop drowning in content

    Websites, social media and apps are such a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives that it’s difficult to imagine a time when we made decisions about products or interacted with services purely by picking up the phone or looking at a printed catalogue and completing an order form. We all love the benefits that the digital revolution has brought; it empowers us as consumers, helps us make more informed decisions, brings individuals and communities closer together and ultimately gives us access to previously unimaginable amounts of data and information.

    Yet there are drawbacks to this revolution. At times it can feel like we’re drowning in content. People have never been so empowered to make decisions but conversely never has the potential to be overwhelmed by information been so great. What strategies do we adopt when dealing with information overload? Unwittingly or not, we have all become more discerning and savvy as consumers. We cut out or ignore the fluff and the unnecessary content that competes for our attention, we become accustomed to curating content based on our needs and interests and look to trusted sources to validate any decisions we need to make when it comes to parting with our hard earned cash.

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  • The 10 (Web) Commandments

    We have a long and exciting road ahead of us as we seek to make changes to the University website to help us achieve our long term goals. There are lots of demands on our time and resources, and as a result we have to prioritise what we do. Part of that process is determining some ground rules that we’ll adhere to as a team and as we work with our key stakeholders.

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  • Selling the student experience

    Earlier this year, the undergraduate student prospectus was updated.  The marketing and design teams worked with an external agency to give it a contemporary look and feel and to ensure it fully showcased the student experience.  The resulting prospectus looked fantastic – it was vibrant, written in a friendly tone, included a variety of student voices, and featured high quality photography which really showed off the campus and city to their best advantage.

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  • Changing Times

    They say that change is inevitable, and in the web team we’ve seen our fair share of it over the past couple of years. We’re now a new team, with a new structure, about to settle into a new home to take forward a new vision.

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  • Country pages for prospective international students


    Earlier this year we revamped our set of country pages – pages which are designed for prospective students from around the world.  These pages help students to become better informed about the University and city and cover topics such as entry requirements, fees and funding, information about visits by the international recruitment team, and general information about life in Dundee.

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  • UX Workshop for Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

    The University of Dundee has recently restructured how web services are provided under a newly formed Web Services Team.

    The Web Services team has 5 disciplines

    • Web Content
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • UX (User eXperience)
    • Support

    When the team is working with colleagues at the University to redesign their web presence, we follow a process that has UX as an integral part of the process.

    But first, what is UX?

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  • Accommodation

    Accommodation is a great selling point for the University of Dundee, we have around 250 self-contained flats, the majority of which are on or around the city campus. Therefore, alongside our revamp of the course pages on the Study website we set about updating the Accommodation site.

    Due to the way university applications work, applying for a room is more complex than just booking a hotel. You need to be holding an offer, then we’ll contact you, then there is an allocation procedure to try and match students up with students they’ll get on with. As such the old accommodation site was designed with the aim to guide applicants through all the information they need to know. This was a noble aim however the inherent assumption was that users would follow the predefined route – Ikea style – from start to finish.
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  • New Design for Course pages

    In October 2015 the web team commenced a redesign of the course pages in the Study section of the website. The feedback from staff and students was that although the website overall had come on leaps and bounds over the last year there was still much we could do to improve the pages which are so crucial in showcasing our portfolio of programmes and making a compelling proposition to prospective students.

    Through user testing with groups of students it became apparent that users were often finding it difficult to get to key information such as entry requirements or they were being overwhelmed or distracted by the sheer amount of options on the page.

    So our first objective was clear –  improve the various issues around navigation and how people interact with the elements on a course page.
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