Wednesday 26 September 2012

We have kick off!

It's official, the Web Development Project (#UHDev) has kicked off! Having had the first meeting with the Squiz team last Friday we now have all dates for our analysis stage workshops.

Starting next Wednesday with 2 technical specific workshops to look at our current infrastructure and cloud hosting options.

Following on from those will be 9 content and feature related workshops that will help to tease out what we want our new site to be able to do as well as how we would like it to look. Reasonably intensive timeframes but then we do have a short project timeframe to work to!

Following on from the kick-off meeting we also held the Stakeholder Development Group meeting where Squiz came in to present current and completed projects and to answer any questions raised. It was a great session and it appears that everyone on the Group felt as though we will be very well supported!

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Content refresh is underway!

Probably the biggest and most difficult part of any website refresh is the cleaning of content. So, to try and address this prior to our migration to Squiz Matrix we have now started a nine month project to clean up the content we currently have in whichever system it is sitting in. In total we have over 10,000 pages to work our way through so although 9 months sounds like a long time it really isn't!

The best possible outcome would be for us to close around 15-20% of the current pages, fix all the broken links and spelling mistakes and make the migration of content as easy as possible. Realistically though this is probably not going to happen...

People become very attached to their content, the value the time they have put into creating it and don't really want that to be taken away. A fair position to take if you only look at the time spent putting the content together but not if you look at the wider picture. If no-one has viewed the content then can it be said that it adds value to the website or visitor experience? I'd argue that it does't and that the content should be removed. It's easy to highlight what should be closed with a simple analytics report, the clever part is in convincing people it's the right decision!

So, we are now 3 weeks into a nine month project and so far it's going reasonably well, pages are being closed, we're using Siteimprove to find and fix broken links and spelling mistakes and hopefully the quality of the site is improving on a daily basis. But, we're only just getting started so who knows what the next few months will hold for us!

PS. The image is of the Edit+ editing tool within Squiz Matrix, a far better editing environment than the ones we currently use... roll on next year!

Thursday 6 September 2012

G-Cloud Procurement process, an idiots guide

Prior to joining the University of Hertfordshire I had herd a few rumours that the HM Government were looking at a more streamlined procurement process. At the time it was mildly interesting but not that relevant to my day-to-day working.

However, having suddenly needed to make a purchase of a new CMS the G-Cloud immediately sprung to mind and I was rather relieved to find that it was now working! Having run through the internal procurement processes at the University we have now just completed the purchase of a new supplier via the G-Cloud Framework Agreement. I am happy to announce that the University of Hertfordshire will be implementing a new website within the Squiz Matrix CMS.

The procurement process has been very straight forward and the use of the G-Cloud Framework Agreement has been a real life saver. Prior to the project beginning I agreed to write a blog post on the experience and the process of making a purchase. This is now live on the HM Government G-Cloud website, the link to the posting is below if you would like a read...

They have also now provided a list of eligible organisations who can take advantage of this fantastic service so if you do have a large procurement coming up it's definitely worth considering!