Last week we achieved the major milestone of moving a school website to the central web template. The launch of the new University of Dundee School of Business website represents a key strategic component in the University’s transformative vision, building on the existing strong foundation in this area to deliver world-class teaching and research in Accounting, Finance, Economics, Management and Marketing.
Using the Central Web Template for a school website had several advantages:
- From a navigation point of view, it allows for a coherent and clear user path from the School website to other key areas such as the central pages of the course.
- Utilize the strength of the University of Dundee branding and present a consistent message to visitors.
- As a web team, we now focus on maintaining and improving the core web model rather than spreading our efforts across many different projects. By moving a school website into this template, we can make the most of these design and functionality features and get all the benefits of continuous improvement.
Inevitably, there have been some challenges along the way. We felt the need to focus attention on the first level sections of the School’s website. One option would have been to place these links within the normal side column area for navigation, but doing so enforces design restrictions on the rest of the website. To address this, we have introduced a new navigation bar horizontal. This allows for full-width pages like the Courses page and on pages like Scholastic research we can switch to a more traditional two-column/side navigation layout while maintaining top-level navigation the whole time. Of course this navigation is fully responsive and works on mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
There have also been significant improvements to the staff profile template with these pages now benefitting from a new design and faster page loading.
More improvements are in the pipeline and we know there is probably still room to improve the relationship between global navigation (Study, About, Student Life etc.) and School navigation to eliminate any ambiguity or uncertainty in the user journey. It goes without saying that we will be testing the site with internal and external user groups and incorporating their feedback into any improvements we make.
At first glance, the School of Business is a relatively small website, but for the Web team, it’s a big accomplishment, and it’s just one of the many ways we’re working together more effectively to produce products and services that meet the needs of our users and the University. Exciting times await us.