As another video production training opportunity ‘How to get your message across using video’ has come to a close this week, we are delighted to bring the second issue of Digital Digest: Spotlight on video but before you start planning your Oscar speech – we show how it pays to ask yourself some key questions.
Rewind to last term and I spent a day sitting in on part one of the Digital Development training course ‘How to get your message across using video’.
The thing that I have taken away from this course that I will keep coming back to is the importance of getting your story across so that your audience engages with what you have to say.
The team delivering the course are keen to stress that technical brilliance in editing is all well and good, but if the subject matter is not video worthy – not interesting, compelling or engaging enough – then it’s not going to be watched. Continue reading
The University website contains a lot of content. There are over 25,000 pages on the CMS alone – then there’s all the non-CMS sites and blogs. Not forgetting all the content about the University on external sites and services, such as social media channels. This content may be paragraphs of text, the wording of links, images, videos, tweets or a whole number of other things.
Having content on the web is great, but having loads of content on the web poses a number of problems. Continue reading
This week has seen the launch of our brand new collaborative e-newsletter, Digital Digest. Every month, we’ll be bringing you the latest news and comment about all things digital happening around the University. The first issue brings you our digital highlights of 2012.
But to make this newsletter a success, we need your input. Here’s a list of topics for future issues which we already know you are interested in:
- Blogs and social media
- QR codes
- Diary management
- Digital photography
- Google Docs
If you are working on anything interesting that you would like to share, or if you would like to suggest a topic, get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Luke Micallef, Digital Projects Officer
One of the big projects I was involved in this year was the revamp of the International Study and Language Centre (ISLC) website.
This came about because the department felt that the site simply wasn’t serving the needs of their users. Organisational restructuring and changes to the department’s offer had resulted in various elements being tacked on to the site, making it difficult for prospective student to find what they needed.
The approach involved first identifying the objectives of the department and what they were actually trying to do. It was decided that the core objective was to recruit more students, as well as to raise the unit’s reputation among their other prospective audiences. The next step was to speak to the users to find out what they wanted from the site. While the user testing provided some useful insights, as we only had access to existing students, rather than prospective ones, there were still some gaps in our knowledge. I decided to supplement our understanding by asking the course tutors, who know their students inside out, to complete some personas for the target audience. Personas are brief outlines of typical users that you can use to evaluate your content. See an example of a completed persona or download the persona template for Word.
Armed with all this info, we put together a list of what users wanted to find out from the website, the kind of tasks that they need to complete and the information that they need in order to do this. This informed the information architecture and what we know about the users informed the voice, tone and language used. The result was a site that tries to take into account the limited language ability of the target audience and gently guide them to the course that’s right for them. Once they’ve found the right course, the information is structured to present them with the barriers to entry first, so they know whether or not they’re eligible immediately, then the ‘softer’ information to help them decide if this is the right course for them. They are then led towards the ultimate goal – application. The rest of the site was reworked too, streamlining the content and aiming to highlight relevant content to the target audiences using terms that they will be familiar with.
Visit the ISLC website to see the changes for yourself and feel free to leave your comments and questions below. We’ll review the stats and do a follow up piece later in the year when we’ll have a better idea of whether or not the changes have proven successful.
This post is part of the Digital Development Forum Christmas Catchup
Post by Helen Setchell, Head of Web and New Media
Members of the Digital Development team have written individual posts covering their area, so I’ll let them tell their own stories.
Andy Owen’s end-of-year round-up is especially poignant because he’s leaving the University and moving on to pastures new in the New Year. You’ll see from his blog post what a fantastic talent he is, and – although we’re very sad to see him go – we wish him all the best for the future.
Looking to next year, the Digital Development team will be finishing working on a project which had the aim of ‘kick-starting’ the internationalisation of our digital presence. That ties in with a project we are just beginning: to redevelop our online recruitment information across the Study and Life sections, school and department pages, and third party websites. As well as improving the ‘customer journey’, we will also be looking to improve the processes involved in publishing course information. This work will be one of our priorities over the remainder of the 2012-13 academic year (watch this space for updates!).
Because digital development at the University is about so much more than the work of the Digital Development team, we are launching the Digital Digest newsletter to bring all the University’s digital news together. You will be able to read summaries of digital developments taking place across the University and beyond. Links in the newsletter will take you straight to a relevant blog post where you can read all the details, written by the person or team responsible.
If you are one of those people or teams, and you have a story to tell that will inspire others, or some good practice to share with your peers, then please get in touch! You can either leave feedback and comments on the various blog posts, or you can write your own blog post and ask email@example.com for your story to be featured in an upcoming edition of the Digital Digest newsletter.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Post by Rachel Crabtree, Applications Manager, RISIS
Three new developments which allow staff in Schools to record key information on RISIS for their students. Continue reading
Post by Andy Owen, Digital Design Officer, Digital Development
You may have noticed that the University of Reading’s home page underwent a bit of a change recently. Gone are the bold colours all competing equally (and so equally unsuccessfully) for our attention. In its place we have a page with more focus: its primary objectives are student recruitment and promoting the University’s activities. Continue reading
Post by Christian Propper, Head of Development Services, Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office
The Development and Alumni Relations office re-organised their homepage menus in August 2011, after using Google Analytics to determine which pages proved the most popular. Continue reading
Post by Leigh Blount, Digital Projects Manager, Digital Development
Helping an academic in Modern languages with a blog to show the outcomes of a research project and its impact. Continue reading