Maria is the digital data analyst and content editor for the digital communications team. From Newcastle originally, Maria has lived in Dundee for the last five years while completing her degree in English and working in marketing for small, start-up businesses. Maria is usually found analysing Google Analytics and the results of usability testing.

The importance of email signatures

Over the last few weeks I’ve spotted a new trend at the University. Namely, the fashion for excluding email signatures from emails.

Now, I’m not talking about people I know well and who email me all the time. Nor am I talking about those folks who remove their email signatures after the first couple of messages in an email thread. (If I’ve sent you a couple of messages in that thread, it’s likely I now know who you are.)

No, I’m instead talking about those people whom I have never met or spoken to before, who send emails without one ounce of information about who they are and what they do. This post will look at why email signatures should be used, and what a University email signature should look like.

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Take our survey!

We’ve created a survey to find out why people use the current research webpages and what they like and dislike about that experience. Anyone who enters could win a £30 Amazon voucher for taking part!

The survey will help digicomms understand what users’ top tasks are and what they like or dislike about the current site. This survey is aimed at people who interact with or have responsibility for research in higher education. You may be a member of staff at the University of St Andrews or at another university or related institution. This survey is open to both academic and professional staff.

The survey is anonymous and takes five minutes or so to complete.

Take the survey

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Google Data Studio training

In 2017, Google Analytics training was created as core course on the digital visa. The training introduced participants to key Google Analytics terminology and walked through creating a dashboard in Google Analytics. However, not long after, I became aware of Google Data Studio, another Google product which allows users to creatively visualise and share data. Essentially, the tool was a more user-friendly dashboard, and it enabled users to create analytics reports in a way that made sense to them. It became clear that the training should be changed to focus on Google Data Studio. 

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View the new accommodation pages

As part of the external website programme, just before Christmas digicomms updated a large part of the Study at St Andrews section of the website. This involved restructuring information for prospective students.

A significant portion of the team’s time was devoted to the redesign of the accommodation webpages. Previously these pages were held in T4v7, so they were rebuilt in T4v8. The structure of the site was reimagined, the content was rewritten and the pages were given a new lease of life.

So what’s changed?

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Study at St Andrews: usability results

As part of the external website project, we are reconfiguring the current Study at St Andrews section to improve the prospective student’s experience.

Digicomms recently conducted testing specifically to determine the usability of the title for the ‘Study at St Andrews’ section of the University’s website. For this, the following three titles were tested:

  • Study at St Andrews (current name of section)
  • Prospective students
  • Why choose St Andrews?

Continue reading “Study at St Andrews: usability results”

Usability testing around the University

The digital communications team has been conducting usability testing since 2015. Usability testing allows us to evaluate the design of a webpage, or more specifically, a particular process such as signing up for a visiting day.

Digicomms is keen for other units and departments within the University to consider conducting usability testing on their webpages. This post looks at the process for conducting usability testing in another department.

Find out more: What is usability testing and why do we do it?

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What is Google Data Studio?

Over the next few weeks I will be updating my existing training session: Google Analytics: creating a dashboard. Recently, Google updated Google Analytics and this update saw the removal of the humble ‘add to dashboard’ button. This subtle change meant that the majority of the training needed to be re-written.

Google has released Google Data Studio as an alternative way to visualise data, so I looked into it and this was definitely the direction my training needed to go. The new tool, which is currently beta, is more user friendly, offers more features and is likely to revolutionise how data is shared in organisations. Continue reading “What is Google Data Studio?”

An update on the 2018 digital prospectus

Last month the digital communications team were busy launching the new site structure, a big milestone in our external website project. Now that’s out of the way, we have more time to focus on our business as usual work, and this means ensuring all of the 2018-entry postgraduate taught and undergraduate course webpages are ready for September 2018.

New methods

2017 was the first year that the web publishing schedule for postgraduate programmes aligned with Publications, which meant that all drafts of the webpages were sent out at the same time as the draft print prospectus for each subject. This was done in an effort to make the proofing process easier for Schools, as all feedback could be sent back to Publications in one go. Undergraduate pages were still sent out separately, but digicomms hope that, in the future, these can also be sent out with print prospectus information.

Uploading

Once digicomms receives all the Word documents back from Schools, the next step is to upload the content to T4v8.

When each course is uploaded, the content team checks the page against specially written acceptance criteria for the undergraduate and postgraduate pages.

The first phase is to upload the postgraduate pages. Once they have all been uploaded, there will be a final overall QA in which the content team will read over for typos, test all links, and check each page against the acceptance criteria and the print prospectus.

Once the postgraduate pages have been signed off, we will begin uploading the undergraduate pages. The process will be the same for UG as it is for PGT, although, due to UG pages having more subpages, and more content on each page, we expect this will take longer.

The schedule

The deadline for Schools to return the postgraduate taught pages was 24 May, and the deadline for undergraduate page returns was 7 July.

We aim to have both undergraduate and postgraduate course pages live on the University website by the 1 September 2017.

Once the new 2018 pages are live, both the 2017 postgraduate and undergraduate pages will move into the archive.

Launching the new site structure

On Thursday 6 July, the digital communications team will be changing the structure of the University’s website. All academic information that currently resides under Study at St Andrews will be moved from there into the Subjects section.

The digital communications team will be migrating Entry requirements, Study options, Non-degree programmes and Postgraduate taught courses.

The new site structure for the Subjects section will go live on Thursday 6 July 2017.


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Prospective student information: usability testing and results

As part of the external website project we are retiring the Study at St Andrews section of the website and moving its content into either Subjects or Prospective students. Certain information will now live under Subjects, including:

  • Study options
  • Entry requirements
  • Non-degree courses

Last week we conducted a control usability test which asked users to find information in the pages listed above. The purpose behind this test was to see how users currently found this information within Study. Continue reading “Prospective student information: usability testing and results”