Thursday, 17 July 2014

UX activity in UK Higher Ed web teams

To help me prepare for a presentation I'm giving at this year's IWMW web managers conference I sent out a survey to web teams asking about the user experience (UX) research and design work they do, and how formally it was integrated into their role.

Monday, 30 June 2014

McGovern - how searching has changed

Content management specialist Gerry McGovern's latest article is a nice summary of how he sees search behaviour and how it's changed over the past few years.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Information Architecture's relationship with navigation deisgn

A couple of good articles that talk about the relationship between website navigation design and information architecture (IA) and highlight what makes them distinct.

Ongoing CMS development - the NY Times

A really nice article from the developers of the New York Times' in-house content management system, Scoop. How they evolved it, why and how, and where they're heading next.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Email content management checklist

An excellent piece from Georgy Cohen for higher ed content strategy website If you're involved in regular email communications you should check your activity against her sound advice.

Friday, 13 June 2014

UX in Higher Ed - my talk at July's IWMW

I love the IWMW conferences (the annual event for UK higher education web professionals). Always come away with new ideas and food for thought. Always meet good people. But I've been thinking about what I don't get from the IWMW. And it's this thought that's prompted me to speak at this year's conference being held in Newcastle in July.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Boag's digital call-to-arms for higher education

A great read for anyone involved in website management and digital communications in higher education. Can't say I agree 100% with every word, but as ever Paul Boag has produced a thought-provoking piece that should prompt you to reflect on what you're doing and why.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

IA practical guide book - free chapter

I was sad to read via Twitter this week that information architect and UX'er Donna Spencer has had so much trouble with her book - A Practical Guide To Information Architecture. On the plus side, it's prompted me to share a great chapter from it and encourage you to dig deeper.

Social media integration in websites

I've been thinking about social media sharing buttons recently. We're developing a new CMS for the University of Edinburgh at the moment, and this kind of functionality is on the to-do list. I'm currently wondering whether they're worth bothering with at all.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

UX conference in Edinburgh, June 2014

Fantastic to hear that the UX Scotland conference is going ahead again in Edinburgh. I had a great time there last year - some fantastic talks and workshops.

UK Higher Ed web managers conference 2014

I was really, really pleased to hear that the annual UK Higher Ed web managers conference - known as IWMW (Institutional Web Managers Workshop) - is going ahead this year.

Content strategy & CMS management podcast

I've recently discovered, and been listening to, a podcast series called - Insert Content Here. It's produced by a company specialising in Drupal CMS development (Lullabot) but the majority of features are tech-agnostic; instead focusing on content management strategy.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Boag on digital business

Paul Boag's got a new book coming out in March and to promote it the latest series of his podcast is also focusing on the same theme - digital adaption.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

User experience & customer experience - is there a difference?

In an excellent discussion piece for, Jon Innes considers user experience and customer experience. Is it the same thing, or are there differences? The article prompted me to think again about my university's current student experience enhancement project.

Responsive design is a content management issue

Responsive design - a single design that changes to suit the size of the screen - is an increasingly adopted approach. Karen McGrane explains why this is a content issue first and foremost, and shares a few anecdotes.

Improve your usability test scenarios

Jeff Sauro talks us through seven key considerations when writing scenarios for tasks in usability testing studies.

Navigational challenges of large sites

Paul Boag, writing in Smashing Magazine, talks about the challenges of implementing navigation on really big sites. He considers a range of solutions, drawing on examples including university websites.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Higher education personas

I've been using personas on website and CMS development projects for about 5 years now. It's still a fledgeling technique at the University of Edinburgh, so I thought I'd try and find out if personas were being used by other UK universities.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Ginny Reddish on content strategy

Ginny Reddish, author of the book on web writing - Letting Go of the Words - presented at a content strategy conference in London earlier this year. Her slides are available via her website.

Inline links - challenging to the reader and the writer

We don't advocate inline links on our University website. In fact, the corporate content management system won't allow them. There's a fair bit of debate on the topic of links appearing within the flow of a paragraph but no writing I've seen seems to focus on the web editor.