Web Services

We don’t stop because time goes on

With many of us leaving for the summer holidays, it’s always a good time to reflect on the past year. As we pointed out earlier, we have a lot to be proud of. At this time last year we weren’t even a team, the future held many uncertainties and we had very few ideas as to where we would end up. It says a lot about the people who make up our team that we were able to come together and do an outstanding job amidst that upheaval. From revising course pages, to reforming our working practices. From the incorporation of users and data it has led to decision making working more collaboratively with people across the university. It’s been a busy old year!

The work we have completed is the foundation on which we will build the future of the team and the services we provide. The scale of the task ahead of us is immense, and the more we look at the data, the more real it becomes to us.

[Tweet “Our website has 2m users from over 230 different countries/territories generating 14m page views every year.”]

Each year, nearly 2 million individual users visit our site from over 230 different countries/territories around the world. They generate nearly 14 million page views using 5,700 different device types, and every year we see people setting their browser language to over 360 different language variants/language families. We also deal with over 120 different browser versions that only access our main site.

Google currently indexes nearly 540,000 bits of content across all *.dundee.ac.uk domains. This figure increases significantly when you consider the more than 150 other domains that are registered with us. Only 38,000 of these pages reside on our main site, but the first three sections generate 50% of the traffic.

So, as we approach the new academic year, we have a significant amount of work ahead of us, but also some difficult questions to ask as an institution. Web Services is here to support this process and there are a number of significant projects currently in the planning stages to help guide us through this.

  1. User testing
    You’ll see us out and about during Open Days and Welcome Week talking to prospective students and those about to embark on their journey to Dundee. We will collect data on their thoughts and experiences on how they got here, with a particular emphasis on their experience with the website, and invite them to join our new community of users. We also plan visits to local schools where we will listen and talk to pupils who are starting the application process and seek to understand how we can best meet their needs. We will also be engaging with current staff and students from across the university and encourage them to join the user community to help us understand internal needs as well.
  2. Brand update
    One of the major projects we are heavily involved in, along with others across the University, is to look at the branding of the University and help develop it. We are working with Graphic Tangent, who are a Glaswegian brand agency, and have already had some exciting conversations about where we can go. This work is about more than just looking at logos and colors and will serve as a springboard for some really exciting changes in the future.
  3. Support and project management
    At any one time we have between 30 and 40 active projects on the go. We also resolve 20-30 different support calls on a weekly basis. We have laid the groundwork to reform the way we manage the demands on our time to better serve our users, but also to free up our time to work on bigger business as usual and transformational projects. There’s still a lot to do as we’re trying to change a culture as well as a process.
  4. Strategy
    With so much to do it’s clear we can’t do everything and will need to focus on key areas. Working towards the end of the year, we will develop a strategy to take the web into the future and make it work hard for us. This will tie in closely with your business needs and external relations strategy to focus on the 4Rs (Recruitment, Reputation, Search and Revenue).

The past year has been difficult and the future looks challenging, but we have never been better equipped or ready for it. So come on let’s go!