Monday, 9 February 2015

Updating the campus map

The interactive campus map was launched a couple of years ago, and one of the first things I was assigned to do was to update it a little bit. In particular, we wanted to be able to deep link to individual points the map and to have more information about a site pop up when you click on the markers.

Deep linking will make it easier for locations around campus to link to the map with their location highlighted. It's been requested from a few places so I'm happy to say it's now in place. When you click on an individual building you'll see that the URL in the address bar updates with a hash reference at the end (the "#heslington-hall" bit in Going directly to that URL will open the map zoomed in with a marker dropped in that particular spot.

The information pop-ups currently display the name of the location, which is handy when you're looking at all the cafes around campus and need to know which one you're looking at! We're getting some ideas about what other information would be useful to include in the pop-up. If you've got any ideas, let us know in the comments below.

We've got lots more plans for the map, including a location search and room search to make it even more useful for students, visitors and staff. Watch this space over the next few weeks!

Friday, 6 February 2015

You (auto)complete me

Following on from the introduction of our new search engine last month, we've just rolled out a new feature to help make searching our website easier.

Searches from the homepage and other top-level parts of the website (Study, Research, etc) now show autocomplete suggestions once you've typed in the first few letters of your query.

Clicking a suggestion will take you to the search results for that term. The suggestions all match content that appears on our website, so the results you get should always be relevant.

Happy searching!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

New Starter - Chris Marsh

I've just started in the Digital team as a Front-end Web Developer - writing HTML, CSS and Javascript. My background is working for web agencies, developing sites and delivering to clients. It will be a huge change to work on a single website, but I'm looking forward to it.

We've got huge plans for updating the design, structure and deployment of the UoY website, and I've got a lot of ideas about the role the Digital team will play in this exciting new phase.

I'm an alumnus of the University, although it's nearly 15 years since I graduated. It's great to be back and I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with life on campus.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Our new search engine

You may have noticed that searching on the University website has become a lot better recently. This is down to the fact that we launched our new search engine this week, replacing our old Google Mini solution with Funnelback.

What's new?

While we've kept the design of the search mostly the same as it was before, a lot has changed behind the scenes that means that search results should be more relevant and come back a lot quicker. The new search is a lot better at dealing with misspellings - of which we see a lot in our search logs, especially when it comes to words like 'accommodation', which is spelled incorrectly as many times as it's spelled correctly. 

A couple of our favourite new features include:


As soon as you start typing your query you'll see suggestions for searches that match content on our site.

This currently is only enabled for searches carried out from, but we'll soon be adding it to search boxes on the rest of the site too.

Document type filtering

If you know that you're looking for a file of a particular type, the document filter on the right hand side will allow you to narrow down your search.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Sprint notes for sprint 31 - new research pages, study content improvements, search engines

Research pages

We've been working with an external agency on a redesign of our research pages, to be launched early next year. So far we've had a collaborative sketching session where we explored ideas for the research homepage, and the agency have delivered a set of wireframes which we've given feedback on. We'll be receiving the finished designs later this week, and then quickly moving on to implementation and content population.

Study web content

  • Country pages for international students - Tasha has been populating the new first batch of the new country pages, which will be live in sprint 32.
  • Digital style guide - the team has all fed back on the guide, which will be available to view on the wiki shortly after some final amends.
  • Prioritising our projects - we've agreed a list with Student Recruitment and Admissions for which aspects of the study web content we're going to be working on next.
  • Course finder audit - Tasha has been making sure that all of the results in our course search link to actual course pages (some link to department homepages) and Paul has been reviewing the search terms that people enter that don't return any results.

New search engine

Dan and Paul met with Funnelback, who will be providing the new search engine for our website. Funnelback are currently setting up the software, and we plan to launch in early December.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Embiggening the campus map

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed a small addition to the online campus map: you can now switch the map to full screen mode, allowing you to see a lot more of the campus at once.

Hopefully this will make it easier to navigate around our ever-expanding campus.

We know that there's still a lot of other functionality that you'd all like added to the map - like being able to search for rooms and buildings - we're hoping to work on some more of these kinds of features in our upcoming sprints, so stay tuned.

Monday, 27 October 2014

This week's screening: Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug

Next up in our regular series of lunchtime digital screenings is a usability test demo by Steve Krug, author of Don't Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability and Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-it-yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems (both essential reading!).

In this short video (25 minutes) Steve will run through an example usability test - if you've ever thought of running a usability test yourself but aren't sure what types of questions to ask, this is a great place to start.

Everyone welcome, feel free to join us in HG17 Heslington Hall this Wednesday at 1pm.