Iterative improvements to the digital prospectus

Shortly before the digital prospectus went live, the content team in digital communications sat down and came up with a list of development, design and content improvements we would like to make to the pages in the future.

We prioritised this list and organised it by timeframe (before launch, after launch, and after migration to T4v8).

Before launch

Some of the improvements were completed before launch, such as standardising the way we write addresses on all pages, or rewriting module caveats to make information clearer.

One of the bigger pieces we completed before launch was to provide keyword matching for undergraduate course pages in order to improve our course search tool. However, our keyword matching could still be improved! We created a keyword spreadsheet and sent this out to all Schools to provide us with any keywords they felt should be attached to a particular programme. We are able to add both positive keywords (words associated with a course) and negative keywords (words we don’t want associated with a course ­– for instance, ‘physics’ with ‘Metaphysics’).

Keyword matching example in course search tool
Keyword matching in course search tool

We have already been able to use tracking analytics on the course search tool to see what users have been searching for. For example, we have had a few instances of searches for ‘midwifery’ so far! This data will be very useful in determining how we should market particular courses, or whether a new programme might need to be created to meet a gap in the market.

If you would like to add keywords to a programme, please email digitalcommunications@st-andrews.ac.uk.

After launch

Some improvements require time from our development team, who are currently busy working on the digital pattern library project. When they are finished with their project, we hope that some of these improvements can be made, including moving the year of entry to the same line as the degree title.

Other improvements we can make now include hard-coding more content, or breaking hard codes where we have found we need more flexibility, such as the ‘Student life’ section on the undergraduate course pages.

After migration to T4v8

For many of the improvements, we are waiting until we migrate to the new version of our content management system, T4v8. Once we have migrated, we will work on a number of design improvements, such as creating a new design for the ‘research centres’ section on subject pages which will make it easier to read and require less scrolling.

Continuing engagement

We are also aware of the need to continue engaging with stakeholders outside of our team in order to create new pages, such as the Gateway programme pages.

We are happy to hear from colleagues who have constructive criticism or other ideas for how we can improve the digital prospectus. To do so, please email itservicedesk@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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