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.

New Team

In the past, web was a completely devolved affair with individuals and teams appearing across the University. Whilst this was a benefit to the individual schools and Colleges at the time, it led to a dilution of the University brand, duplicated work and functionality, a proliferation of pages and no united vision of where we need to go or the governance needed to get us there. With the formation of the new Marketing department and transferring to it the mandate for web, there was a desire to bring together those involved in the web from across the University. This resulted in the new web team made up of people formerly in central IT, the Colleges, the Schools and Admissions. This bringing together of talent and experience has already proved invaluable and will continue to be so.

New Structure

In the past it was the norm that the “web person” would be responsible for everything. Whether that was content, design or code, it would find its way into their inbox for action. However, times change and each area has its own industry surrounding it. Whilst we will still need generalists, we need experts in these areas that can delve into the latest best practice and start to incorporate it into our own practices.

To cope with these changing times we’ve restructured the team to focus on five key areas for the web: design, development, content, user experience and support.

Each of these specialisms will be led by key individuals who will have responsibility for those in their area and will work with me to decide how we take each of these distinct areas forward. By forming disciplines our vision is to allow those within these areas not only to focus but also to delve into the very latest best practice and develop the specialist skills we need to reach our goals.

New Home

During the summer the web team will come together for the first time since their formation when we take up residence in our new offices located in the Tower. Whilst we’ve already been working closely together as a team, we’re looking forward to working alongside each other on projects and the inevitable organic conversations and ideas that can be generated from such an atmosphere. If you’re passing rooms G1/G2 from July onwards, pop in and say hello!

New Vision

Our vision for the future is to provide great experiences that get people to the information they need as quickly as possible. To get there we have a lot of work to do understanding just who our users are, what it is they are looking for and what they react best to. We’ll be engaging with a wide range of stakeholders over the coming months to start a massive clean-up operation of the corporate site. As we progress through that we’ll be gathering requirements, ideas and suggestions that will then feed into an overarching web strategy for the future.

Whilst there’s a lot of hard work ahead of us, it’s great to see the progress we’ve already made in such a short space of time and exciting to think of what lies ahead.

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Andrew graduated from the University of Dundee in 2003 with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Computing. He started working for the University in 2004 and spent four years working in the Careers Service and across wider Student Services. In 2008 he moved to the College of Life Sciences to act as their web developer, eventually expanding in 2012 to take on the development of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing sites as well as heading up their IT unit in 2014-15. He became Head of Web Services in 2015 and brought together teams from across the University to create a unified web services team for the University.

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