TerminalFour version 8 – T44U 2015

This is the second instalment of our coverage of the TerminalFour for you conference (T44U 2015). The first instalment covered company updates, strategy and product updates. 

An exciting part of the T44U 2015 conference was a session on the forthcoming updates to Site Manager. The new version actually contains quite a lot more than is listed here, but what follows is a summary of the key points and most exciting new features.


8.1 upgrades

Task scheduler

This will make handling and scheduling tasks much easier.

Reports

Reports will now match the look and feel of the new version. Hopefully you don’t need to make edits in the Site Manager on your phone/tablet, but now it will at least be possible!

Form builder

The form builder is a new feature that will allow people without coding skills to create forms, reports and view the data input into those forms. While coding is not required, some degree of technical understanding will still be necessary.

Rights and roles

Phase 1 will allow contributors to create sections, power users will be able to create channels or micro-sites, and moderators have the ability to ‘publish now’ for their section.

A much needed (and anticipated) future development will allow multiple user role assignment e.g. a contributor in one section and moderator in another. This will be particularly useful for us because we need to assign users moderator access only in, say, the school or unit their oversee, and not across the whole site.

Short term development goals (next 6 months) – personalisation and targeting content

By utilising browser location and reference from course search we will be able to segment users based on origin e.g. person is possibly an undergraduate and from Sydney, Australia. We could select an area to personalise e.g. images or text. Then simply set rules and conditions e.g. undergrad from Australia – show content relating to kangaroos and putting shrimp on the bbq. They didn’t go into too much depth on this, as it wasn’t just us developers at the conference, but user segmentation is a growing trend particularly for e-commerce. It would be a very powerful tool to have at our disposal and something I look forward to hearing more about.

Features and services – course search and compare

A module we particularly liked was course search and compare. The demo version that was presented looked lovely and definitely something that we want to look at in the future. Having a search function built into the SiteManger is a big deal in and of itself as search is hard to do and get right. It would be great to be able to save and compare courses, seeing the difference in course overview or requirements. It’s a feature that’s used on modern e-commerce websites and one that we’d love to implement.

They also mentioned the possibility of users choosing courses and creating custom PDF prospectus – on the fly. While we’re not sure what Registry will make of ‘on-the-fly’ prospectus generation, but it would be interesting to explore this possibility further!

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