• 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.

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  • 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?’
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  • 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?
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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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