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Older articles that were referenced in the digital newsletter.

Why we have code standards and style guides

Code standards and code style guides are like two sides of the same coin. They essentially tell programmers in a team, or across a larger organisation, how to best write their code. Code standards are the rules and conventions at a high level, whereas code style guides are specific to a particular coding language. We have…

1 December 2016Resource archive Technology

UniDesk house rules

UniDesk is the system we use to log and progress incidents, more commonly known here as calls. This can be used by University and non-University members alike to submit their problems and then follow their progress. As each team member was using UniDesk slightly differently, it became clear that we needed some rules and guidelines…

29 November 2016Articles and resources Resource archive Support calls Team

Whitespace, copywriting and Google Now

Why whitespace matters There is a tendency among non-experts to cram as much information as possible onto a webpage. But you should not think of whitespace as wasted space. Designers know that whitespace is hugely important in terms of usability, legibility and comprehension. This article contains a good explanation of the theory, research on the…

4 December 2013Resource archive

Responsive design, launch and leave, and designing for drunk people

Responsive design won’t fix your content problem Responsive design won’t fix all the problems with device compatibility. Karen McGrane outlines why the increasing diversity of devices requires smarter thinking in terms of content. Changing the launch and leave culture The botched launch of HealthCare.gov in the US has been attracting a lot of attention in…

27 November 2013Resource archive

Web strategy, and why user-centred design excels

Why are colleges flunking web strategy 101? I’ve talked to organizations that have spent 3-4 painful years developing a governance model that works. But it often ends up in a tangled Web of committees and steering groups focused more on keeping the peace than executing a crisp digital strategy. The successful institutions have strong executive…

19 November 2013Resource archive

Making forms easier, and how to improve usability

University of Strathclyde Web Transformation Project The University of Strathclyde is currently building a new website. This blog shares their experience. They are taking an interesting approach, so it will be worth keeping an eye on it to see how it progresses. So rather than asking an agency to go away and refresh our site,…

13 November 2013Resource archive

Making distinctions clear, infinite scrolling, and stock photos

Explicitly state the difference between options Jakob Nielsen’s latest article is highly relevant to us, as it looks specifically at information architecture decisions made by university admissions departments. This study demonstrates that what may be obvious to us, as people who understand the system, may not be so obvious to a teenager who has not…

6 November 2013Resource archive

Why the launch is just the start, who cares about browsers, and usability myths

Throw out your website’s specification Paul Boag argues that creating a website specification up-front is not the correct way of going about a web project: …they are often presented to the development team (either an external agency or in-house web team) as a rigid set of requirements to be delivered. There is rarely a discussion…

30 October 2013Resource archive

Why less is more

User expertise stagnates at low levels When users learn how to use a website, they are doing just that – learning how to use it. This is why consistency is so important. Terminology, navigation menus and the general layout of a page should all remain consistent to avoid the user constantly having to re-learn everything.…

22 October 2013Resource archive

Keyword data, dangerous navigation, and cards

Lost for words: Google stops providing keywords A couple of weeks ago, I covered the news that Google Search was no longer passing on keyword data to analytics tools. This blog post from the Government Digital Service looks at some potential workarounds that may help bridge the gap left by the disappearance of this data.…

15 October 2013Resource archive