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.

  1. We will place the user at the heart of what we do.
    When we fail to consider the needs of the user of the site, we set ourselves up for failure. The easier we make it for them to complete a task, the greater the return on investment we’ll see.
  2. We will use data to inform our decisions.
    Web design and development can be so subjective at times. Your age, your background, your gender and a million other things will affect your opinion and your perception of what is delivered. It is therefore impossible to please everyone, but to achieve something as close to that as possible, we’ll use data backed evidence to inform what we do rather than opinion.
  3. We will not provide information that other people can provide better or with more authority.
    Some things that are better said by others rather than ourselves. They carry more authority and have a remit for keeping it up to date.
  4. We will place content where it makes most sense to the primary user.
    There will always be niche markets that are too innumerable to count, so we will focus on the primary user of the piece of content wherever possible.
  5. We will not duplicate content, we shall link to it.
    Instead of having the same information in lots of places, we’ll have a single source of the truth and then link through to it.
  6. We will enhance inadequate content, rather than creating similar content.
    Sometimes content on the central site won’t be 100% suitable. In which case we’ll enhance that content rather than replicating existing information elsewhere.
  7. We will pursue simplicity rather than verbosity.
    If you can say it in two words rather than ten, then do it.
  8. We will produce standard solutions before bespoke.
    Bespoke solutions tend to be harder to maintain and impact on other solutions, so we’ll produce standard solutions that everyone can benefit from.
  9. We will seek to automate processes rather than introducing manual ones.
    Life is too short to be introducing lots of manual processes and increasing workloads, so if we can automate it, we will.
  10. We will seek to integrate external systems and data sources rather than creating our own.
    Using “Single source of the truth” data means we cut down maintenance and increase reliability of the data.


Written by:

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.