Friday, 29 August 2014

Sprint notes - sprint 26

What we've been working on in our most recent two-week sprint.

Confirmation, Adjustment and Clearing

Tasha and Amanda worked with Student Recruitment and Admissions to provide a comprehensive list of vacancies for Adjustment and Clearing on A level results day, and to keep this up-to-date throughout the busy phase of Adjustment and Clearing. We also worked on social media to congratulate students confirming their place and to provide supportive messages from current students and alumni. 

Responsive design

Paul has been investigating ways to move the University website to a responsive design. At the Show and Tell Paul gave a presentation on what work this involves (internal only)  and a glimpse into the possible approaches we can take. 

Course pages

We're continuing to work with an external agency on the design and content of our course pages. After providing feedback on wireframes we've received a design proposal which we are considering and will send feedback on.  Alison gave a presentation on the background, and the progress so far, in the latest Show and Tell. 

Websites moving into the Web CMS

The Planning Office and Electronics have both started the process of migrating into the Web CMS. While moving the Planning Office pages we'll be looking at ensuring they sit in audience facing areas of our site: especially useful for users who are not familiar with the University's offices. There has also been a reorganisation with PRDU now sitting outside of the Politics website, helping to support the University's goal of increasing PRDU's inter-disciplinary activities. 

Setting up a regular email update

As part of our efforts to keep web authors informed of what's happening that might affect them, we've started a newsletter. Amanda will be sending out the first newsletter by the end of the week. 

Show and Tell

Don't forget you can come along to our regular  Show and Tell sessions to see quick presentations about what we've been up to lately and ask us questions. They're every fortnight on a Wednesday lunchtime and the next one is on 10 September.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sprint notes - sprint 25

This is our second post in which we tell you about the things that we've been working on in our most recent two-week sprint.

Confirmation, Adjustment and Clearing

Tasha has been leading the team though a lot of work to improve our content for students who will be joining us after receiving their exam results. As well as work on our listings page of clearing vacancies, we've also developed new content to guide students through the confirmation process, and have worked on other supporting pages within the study site to ensure that we're presenting York in the best possible light. We've introduced a new undergraduate study landing page and have improved our content around careers and sport.

Search engine

We now have an instance of Google Custom Search Engine ready to use in case our primary search engine fails. 

York Researchers Night

Dan and Paul have been helping the Events team with the branding and launch of the website for the York Researchers Night which is coming up in September.

Course pages

We're continuing to work with an external agency on the design and content of our course pages. We've provided feedback on the first set of wireframes and will continue to work closely with them through the design phase.

Accommodation applications system

Dan has been continuing to work with IT Services and Accommodation on the design and user experience of the new system that students will use to book their accommodation.

Video captioning

Following on from a request from the Disability and Accessibility group, Paul has been looking at firming up our policy on video captions on our YouTube channel. Although a lot of our videos were already captioned, it wasn't being done as a matter of course. We've decided that from now on, everything that goes on our YouTube channel will be captioned, and we've been looking at the captioning services available that will let us do this most efficiently. See our notes on publishing video for details, along with other things to bear in mind when using YouTube.

Festival of Ideas analytics reports

Tom has worked on the analysis of the stats from this year's Festival of Ideas. We tracked a lot more data this time and made use of goals in Google Analytics so we have some good insights into what worked best when it came to getting people to actually register for events.

Show and Tell

Don't forget you can come along to our regular Show and Tell sessions to see quick presentations about what we've been up to lately and ask us questions. They're every fortnight on a Wednesday lunchtime and the next one is on 27 August.

New team member - Christine Comrie

Christine Comrie
Hello!  I’ve recently joined the team as Digital Editor for Students.  It’s my job to improve the ‘digital experience’ for students whilst they’re at York - so that means I’ll be making sure all information students need whilst they’re studying with us can be easily found online and that it looks pretty.

I’ve crossed the border from the University of Leeds, where I was Information Officer for the Jisc Regional Support Centre based there.  Hopefully, I’ll be putting some of the work done by Jisc on the ‘digital student’ into practice.

I’m looking forward to meeting colleagues and getting your ideas on the kinds of improvements we can make.  Please do get in touch!

Christine

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Show and Tell, Wed 13 August 2014

Just a very quick reminder that we'll be running our second Show and Tell session tomorrow lunchtime (1pm, D/L/036) and we'd love to see you there.

In case you missed it last time, Show and Tell is a new fortnightly meeting run by the Digital team where we give snappy 5-minute presentations on recent projects or topics of interest.

Coming up tomorrow, we have presentations about:

  • Using personas
  • Building and measuring the success of the Festival of Ideas website
  • Social media at Graduation
  • The perils of Analytics

Details and automated alerts about upcoming events are available to staff and students via our Show and Tell wiki page.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Digital screening - Experiencing Delightful Content by Jared Spool

As mentioned in last week's sprint notes, we're starting up a programme of screenings of recorded conference presentations or virtual seminars on topics related to all things digital.

Our first screening will be Wednesday 6 August at 1pm in H/G17 (that's tomorrow lunchtime - sorry for the short notice!) For our first event we've picked Jared Spool talking about Experiencing Delightful Content, recorded at the UX Immersion conference last year. A summary of the talk is available on the conference site.

These screenings will run every two weeks on a Wednesday lunchtime and are open to anyone in the University who would like to join us. Full details are on the digital screenings wiki page (uni folk only) and if you watch the wiki page (Tools > Watch) you can get automatic email updates when we announce future topics.

Hope to see a few people tomorrow and at future screenings.




Thursday, 31 July 2014

Welcome to sprint notes - sprint 24

Welcome to the first of our new regular updates on things we've been working on recently.

Over the past couple of years our team has gradually adopted a number of techniques drawn from the Scrum framework. Key amongst these are working in two-week sprints and doing regular reflection on our work through retrospectives. We're keen to be more open about what the team is working on, so we're joining ranks with teams at Edge Hill, Bath and Sunderland (quite possibly more) in regularly publishing a summary.

Graduation

Over 3,500 students graduated between 16-18 July in three sunny and cheerful days on campus. Tasha and Suzy helped spread the word and encouraged online participation with lots of coverage on social media. They did lots of photography and video, more than we've ever done before, and we had a 3,000% bump in engagement on Facebook as a result. Dan updated the web pages on which we broadcast live streams of all ceremonies (all credit to the fine folk in the AV department who arrange the actual streaming). Viewers in over 60 countries tuned in to watch.

Search engine changes

For the last 10 years or so we've used Google Mini boxes to provide website search for the University. Google have discontinued the product line, so we need an alternative. Paul has been leading on implementing a backup solution based on Google Custom Search Engine in case our old box goes wrong. Dan has led us through a selection process to choose a longer-term provider of search technology. We'll be able to say more about that in a few weeks once we finalise the contract.

Welcome pages for new students

Paul's been working with Ali in Internal Comms on putting the final touches to our new welcome pages for new postgraduates. These go alongside well-received pages that we launched a couple of years ago for undergraduates, so we hope these pages help new PGs find their feet too.

Accommodation system

The University is changing the way students apply for University accommodation and Dan has been working with the project team and supplier to offer a Digital perspective. We've been advising on design and usability and things are looking good.

Adjustment and Clearing

Tasha is leading work to prepare for Adjustment and Clearing so that we're ready for results day on 14 August. In addition to preparing a list of courses available, we're sprucing up our core pages for prospective students too.

Launching Show and Tell and digital screenings

In parallel with starting up these sprint notes, we're also starting Show and Tell meetings so people on campus can come and see in person what we've been up to.
We've also scheduled, but not yet announced details of, regular screenings of digital-related conference presentations or virtual seminars to help us and anyone else interested keep up with what's new in the industry. Look out for a blog post soon with more details.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Starting up Show and Tell

We're starting up a regular event where the Digital team will share what we've been working on or learning about recently. The sessions will be every two weeks on a Wednesday lunchtime, with the first one this week, and anyone at the University is welcome to attend. Details including venue and agenda are on our Show and Tell wiki page (University network only).

Our Digital team manager, Alison, ran successful similar events at the University of Bath where they continue to run them still. We hope our version will help keep everyone at York who's interested up to speed with what we're doing and why.

There's no need to tell us you're coming, just turn up on the day. Hope to see you there!