Visitors to our website will notice some changes to the news pages. This is a result of the launch of a new publishing system which went live yesterday.
Developed by Web Services in liaison with Corporate Communications, the system is the first application to be launched as part of the new external website project.
The project aims to redevelop the external-facing website to ensure it is audience-focused and in line with the web presence of our competitor institutions.
The first in a number of changes, the new publishing system means the Communications team can add and edit articles much more easily than before.
It has built-in features which allow video or audio content in news articles and provides a greater range of editing functionality.
At this stage, articles don’t look radically different but some important changes have taken place:
- We have removed channels from the sidebars, as web statistics showed these were rarely used. Instead, tagging will be introduced in a future release which will enable users to search for specific content via multiple routes.
- Links can now be added within articles so that people can access important information more easily, in addition to the ‘Related Links’ section.
Further developments are planned. Alison Wildish, Head of Web Services, said:
“The aim of the first release was simply to replace the old system with something easier to use.
“We have changed little in terms of styling but we do have plans to further develop this. Users can expect to see significant changes to the way news looks and feels, not just on these pages but throughout the site.
“The system we have now is the starting block for us to build new things.”
Will Marsh, Head of Corporate Communications, added: “This is the first stage of what will eventually be a far more interactive and engaging news section of our website.
“We want to create a dynamic newsroom which will inform, engage and help promote the work and the reputation of the University both nationally and internationally.”
Using a project management framework called Scrum, the Web Services team is working with departments to build applications and services which meet users’ needs more effectively.
The framework is designed to deal with changes which are inevitable on complex projects, ensuring the team delivers the right solution on time. The publishing system is the first application to be released under the new framework but many more will follow.
Alison said: “The Scrum framework is allowing us to work on multiple projects side by side. The external website is a significant project so we’re splitting this down into manageable chunks.
“News publishing is the first application to be released in this way and this will be followed by an eProspectus and then Research and Study websites.
“We have a lot of work to do but we’re confident we can deliver a site that will be engaging, user-friendly and ultimately help to raise our profile both nationally and internationally.”