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The effect of bad adverts online

Online ads: log in, tune out, turn off Economists have been researching how successful online banner advertising is. It’s bad news for commercial website owners. The study paid subjects to complete tasks online, with adverts being displayed between each task. The researchers analysed the drop-out rate of the experiment to come up with an effective…

3 June 2015Articles and resources

BBC News responsive redesign

BBC News switches PC users to responsive site Since the last newsletter, BBC News closed down its old desktop website design and switched all users to the responsive design that was already being displayed to mobile visitors. As is customary for a BBC News redesign, and indeed any major website redesign, the change divided opinion.…

27 May 2015Design

Collaborating on content

Create better content by working in pairs Pair programming is a common way for software developers to work. The idea is to split up the tasks, with one person thinking about the strategic direction of the work (navigating/observing), while the other focuses on the tactical aspects (driving). Would the same concept work for content writing?…

20 May 2015Content

Why we collaborate

More collaboration equals more value Part of the agile methodology the University is adopting for project work is about building collaborative, multi-disciplinary project teams. Gerry McGovern highlights why collaboration is so important. For years, scientists have become more and more specialized in their areas of study and research. But if they are to achieve anything…

18 May 2015Agile

Ethical social research online

The trust engineers I enjoyed this recent episode of Radiolab, which looked how the internet has given social scientists an unprecedented ability to conduct social experiments, which then helps us improve our designs, in an ethical manner… or does it? I include it here because a lot of the concepts described in this podcast are…

8 April 2015Usability

The BBC’s accessibility case study

Accessibility originates with UX: A BBC iPlayer case study This is an interesting case study in the challenges of creating an accessible design for the BBC iPlayer. It may not seem immediately obvious, but visual design can have a massive impact on users who cannot see the page. I often find that mobile applications and…

2 April 2015Usability

Getting the content right for millennials

Millennials say the right content drives brand loyalty The headline sounds positive, but the context is that the wrong content drives young people away. This is a reminder of the challenges we face communicating with our younger users who have grown up with digital embedded in their lives. Of the respondents, nearly two-thirds (62%) said…

26 March 2015Content

A reminder of the downsides of FAQs

FAQs are the dinosaurs of web navigation Gerry McGovern outlines some of the key problems with FAQ sections on websites, including the following: If information is frequently asked for, you really ought to focus on it more in your navigation. FAQ sections are not user-centred because a user has no way of knowing if their…

23 March 2015Content

How the web is used in China

On China’s bleeding edge: Web design trends 2015 We, along with our colleagues in Admissions and IT Services, have been doing a lot of thinking recently about how we can best reach users in China. Web culture in China is very different to here, and it is even more difficult for us to keep on…

19 March 2015Design

History of the homepage prototype project

The prototype homepage aimed at external audiences has been unveiled this week. It is the outcome of over a year of work. It has been an eventful year for the digital communications team. One year on from the launch of Study at St Andrews, we are now in a very different place. Following the perceived success…

10 March 2015Homepage prototype