Helping University of Reading to be Digitally Ready…

The Digital Development team have been running our Drop in and Learn (DI@L) sessions for some time now and over the last few months, coinciding with the Digitally Ready project we have meet and discussed a number of interesting topics with our University colleagues.

The DI@L sessions are there for University staff to discuss and assist with ideas and issues relating to their digital presence.

Are you planning a new web site?…or re-developing and existing site? Have you ever  wondered Is anyone looking at the content I’m publishing? How can I make sure it’s worth the time I’m spending on it? Where can I pick up tips on how to create engaging copy, good layout, great images, and quality audio and video? What do I need to know about other channels, such as mobile, HTML newsletters, YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter? How do I find out about how I should use all the available systems and technologies, such as CMS, Wikis, etc? Who do I talk to if I’ve got a fantastic new idea, a proposal, or some important feedback?”

Over the last 6 months we have:

  • Advised on ways of understanding the users of websites, who they are, what their motivation is for looking at the pages and how to communicate more effectively.
  • Created communication plans to identify the audiences, messages and routes to communicate these within limited resources and where social media can help this.
  • Given demonstrations and demystified social media and what these can be used for from research and marketing purposes.
  • Advised on use of LinkedIn, net communities and google groups as a way of communicating and finding users of new projects and communities of interest, and ways engaging effectively with these groups to lead the discussion.
  • Produced integration strategies for merging teams and departments and how to manage this digitally.

In most cases we have extremely enthusiastic people who want to get on and create

Example of feedback from users

User feedback

something exciting and engaging for their users. The one area we have concentrated on most with clients is the “why”? Why are you doing this? We have encouraged people to  really drill down into the needs/opportunity that is presented and understanding the users, find out about them and then design the best ways to engage them.

Once we’ve nailed the need/demand we can move onto ‘how’ and have helped redesign many of the Universities web presences with user needs at the heart of this.

These include:

  • The new Film, Theatre and TV site – http://www.reading.ac.uk/ftt/using a blogfeed from wordpress as a way of delivering news and events as well as a flickr feed throughout which provides a dynamic and fresh feel to the site.
  • Typography & Graphic Communication who have also added a twitter feed to their page as well as integrating student posts to their blog feed http://www.reading.ac.uk/typography/
  • And the final version of the Researchers’ Night site hosting, images, videos and podcasts from the evening http://www.reading.ac.uk/researchers-night/ as a legacy of the event.
Typography at the University of Reading frontpage www.reading.ac.uk/typography

New front page of the School of Typography


We look forward to continuing these sessions with our colleagues and working together to address the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for us and feeding this into the Digitally Ready project.

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