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.
Using the central web template for a School website had several advantages:
- From a navigational perspective, it allows for a coherent and clear user journey from the School site to other key areas such as the central course pages.
- It utilises the strength of the University of Dundee brand and presents a consistent message to visitors.
- As a web team, we now focus on maintaining and improving the central web template rather than diluting our efforts across many different designs. By moving a School website into this template we can make the most of these design and functionality features and get all the benefits of continuous improvement.
Inevitably, there were a few challenges along the way. We felt there was a need to give focus to the top-level sections of the School site. One option would have been to put these links within the normal side column area for navigation but doing this places design restrictions on the rest of the website. To solve this problem, we have introduced a new horizontal navigation bar. This allows for full-width pages such as the Courses page and on pages such as School Research we can move to a more traditional two-column/side navigation layout whilst maintaining the top-level navigation throughout. Naturally this navigation is fully responsive and works on mobile, tablet and desktop.
Significant enhancements have also been made to the staff profile template with these pages now benefiting from a new design and faster page load.
Other improvements are in the pipeline and we know that there’s probably still scope to improve the relationship between the global navigation (Study, About, Student Life etc) and the School navigation to eliminate any ambiguity or uncertainty in the user journey. Needless to say, we will be testing the site with groups of external and internal users and will incorporate their feedback into any improvements we make.
On the face of it, the School of Business is a relatively small website but for the web team it’s a big achievement and represents just one of the many ways we are working together more effectively to produce products and services that meet the needs of our users and the University. Exciting times lie ahead.