After over 12 months of hard work from a lot of people, we have finally launched the new Study at St Andrews website, the replacement for the Admissions website.
It has been a long and interesting journey. From the original Lean sessions, an ambitious goal was set and lots of ideas were generated.
I was seconded from the web team to Admissions / Corporate Communications to ringfence my time so that I could focus on achieving the Lean group’s ideas without distractions.
The plan was to develop a different way of doing things, whereby web content is more strictly managed in order to maintain high standards, similar to the way the prospectus is produced. I was also responsible for developing a new look and feel for the website.
That was too much work for me to tackle by myself. So now we have a dedicated team looking after front-end design and the creation of content aimed at external audiences.
We cannot afford for this to be a typical “boom and bust” project, where we pat ourselves on the back for launching the website, then leave it to deteriorate over time. We need to remain actively involved in the Study at St Andrews website as it evolves from now on.
However, we also need to turn our attention to other projects at the same time. So we are currently developing processes that will hopefully enable us to do both.
Admissions will have two content co-ordinators, with whom we will work closely, and provide training and support to. We plan to adopt a similar model with other departments as our work moves towards more parts of the website.
We will be developing these processes in the coming weeks.
We also have a lot of ‘phase two’ mini-projects on the agenda, designed to further improve the Study at St Andrews website.
There is still a lot of work to do, but the public launch of ‘phase one’ of the project is a good time to reflect on how far we have come so far.
The Study at St Andrews website would not have been possible without the valuable input of so many people across the University.
The Lean group and the Web Advisory Committee provided us with the knowledge of the business and helped generate the information architecture, which was the foundation of the entire project. The support from the entire Admissions team has been fantastic, and we have been given the freedom and trust to do what we know is right for the website.
We have also relied heavily on content owners from across the University, from Registry to IT Services to the Music Centre and more. This has been especially beneficial for the Why St Andrews? section, which I think is the biggest content improvement over the old Admissions website.
Vicci Smith, a copywriter who was with us for a few months last year, did a lot of great work at the beginning of the content gathering process.
Alice Herbison, a postgraduate Human Computer Interaction student, was an intern with us for two weeks in January. She was a huge help at a vital period of the project, migrating a large amount of the content, and selecting most of the photographs that make up the navigation menus.
Lots of people gave us feedback during February while the website was in test mode, which was hugely important for us to avoid having any inaccurate content or embarrassing typos on the website.
The Print & Design unit have provided lots of guidance on editorial processes and corporate identity. One of our tasks was to ensure that the website design echoed the print prospectus, so their feedback on the design was useful and important.
We also wouldn’t have got anywhere without the fabulous support of the web team. They provide a strong foundation for us to work from, and we have worked with them closely from beginning to end on all aspects of the website.