University of Bath

Typecase publishing platform (Content Publisher)

A project to deliver a modern publishing platform that allows the University to create, guide and publish content on different digital channels.

Computer screen
Typecase is the University's new publishing platform

Background

The design and development of a modern digital publishing platform is critical to the University's ability to attract and retain the best and brightest students, engage future business and research partners, communicate our research power, and help staff and students to complete tasks online, reducing business costs.

The University Publishing platform called Typecase (originally called the Content Publisher) has been designed to meet these goals. Typecase is built around three key principles:

  • ease of use
  • seamless reuse of content
  • building for future use

These principles help to guide the design and development of the publishing platform. This helps us to make sure that authors can focus their efforts on content creation. The information they create can be reused on bath.ac.uk and it is held on the platform so that it can be reused whatever the technological developments are.

Typecase

Typecase is a decoupled content management system (CMS). A decoupled CMS separates the content management application and content delivery application so that it can make content easily accessible for display on any device or platform.

Typecase for content, and for courses

There are two versions of the platform. Typecase for Content) is used by the University to create, and manage and update content on bath.ac.uk. Typecase for Courses is used to publish course information to www.bath.ac.uk/courses/.

Omnichannel ready

Omnichannel diagram
View larger diagram

Typecase can deliver the same content across online and offline channels, this is called multichannel. Typecase is also omnichannel ready. This means in the future the University will be able to deliver different content across channels to create a contextually appropriate and seamless experience.

How Typecase works

Omnichannel diagram
View larger diagram

Typecase is based around a microservices architecture. This means is that instead of being a single application, it is system made up of four different applications that work together:

  • dashboard, content type editor and content repository - this is the application which is seen and used by authors to create and manage content
  • publisher and template repository - this is the application which gets the data from content repository and puts it into the website templates based on the Lens Design System
  • site generator - this is triggered by the publisher and generates the individual pages for the website
  • web server - this handles requests for the pages and serves the pages and associated resources to the end user

Adopting a microservices architecture means that Typecase is easy for developers to understand, develop, test, and it is more resilient. This means the applications are less complex making it easier to maintain and develop.

Developing Typecase

The University's in-house Digital team has designed, built and developed Typecase. These are the benefits:

  • the product is uniquely tailored to meet business requirements and user needs of the University
  • we don't have to wait for a supplier to develop new features or fix bugs

The plan to develop Typecase is based on on four initiatives. These initiatives help to prioritise features and focus our effort on delivery. The four initiatives in order of priority are:

  1. Delivering a foundation
  2. Enhancing collaboration
  3. Optimising the user experience
  4. Improving integration

Prioritising development

New business requirements and user feedback are weighted based on the following criteria:

  • alignment with the current initiative
  • alignment with the University strategy
  • frequency of feedback from user
  • performance of product and editor content types

New features or bug fixes are then prioritised, grouped by type and added to a backlog of work. This process happens weekly.

Public backlog

Typecase rationale and product strategy

Phase 1. Delivering a foundation

1 AUG 2017

The Digital team are currently developing the core features of the platform. The goal is to help authors to create content and user journeys using a simple and intuitive user interface. Authors should be able to do this with no knowledge of coding.

Using feedback from our online form and performance data gathered during the alpha and beta phases of the project, we are iterating on the original Publisher templates.

Status

Completed

  • Topics
  • Landing pages - live
  • Campaign pages - live
  • Case studies - live

In progress

  • Events - design work underway
  • Home - design work underway

In backlog

  • Announcements
  • Corporate information
  • Guides
  • Locations
  • Person profiles
  • Projects
  • Publications
  • Service starts
  • Team profiles

Phase 2. Enhancing collaboration

The aim is to encourage authors to take responsibility for content by making sure it is timely and relevant. To do this, the team will develop tools that allow authors and subject experts to work together to create, organise and publish content.

Key deliverables

  • improve permissions
  • set workflow
  • comment on draft content
  • view publishing history

Phase 3. Optimising the user experience

In this phase we will look at how to improve the quality of our content so that it’s easier to interact with and understand, helping visitors complete tasks on the website. We'll develop tools as necessary to help authors to understand how well their content is performing so that they can make improvements to it.

Key deliverables

  • performance dashboard

Phase 4. Improve integration

We'll tackle duplication of effort and improve integration between University systems to create a seamless user experience across platforms. To do this, the team will develop tools that help authors to create, organise and publish digital content on bath.ac.uk and share information on other digital platforms.

Key deliverables

  • new uploader tool
  • linking and automatic redirect facility

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  • new features as soon as they are released
  • alerts about bug fixes
  • opportunities to get involved in user research

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