Continuous Improvements - Continue...
I was asked recently if submissions to our Suggested Improvements form get acted on or if they get dumped in to some sort of black hole. I would like to confirm that they do indeed get acted on.
This instalment will cover 2019 Q1 (1st quarter) changes/improvements. Remember these changes are all suggestions we received through the improvement request form. Without your suggestions our progress would stagnate. If you have any ideas, no matter how far fetched or minor they may seem, please submit them!
Content Type Changes
The changes this quarter revolved around 3 content types:
- 2017 - Link Box Wrap
- 2017 - Link Box Carousel
- 2017 - Explore This Page
2017 - Link Box Wrap and Link Box Carousel Changes
- Added new field for Subtitle (limit 100 chars)
- Added new field for Background Colour (2017 - Primary Colours)
- Updated text/html layout to use these fields
These changes mean that you can now have a subtitle as well as a title in your link boxes. There is a limit of 100 characters on the subtitle. It should be enough to give a user a little more context for each box. The title and subtitle will have a background colour applied. The default colour is navy, you can change this to any colour from the newly added Background Colour list. All the colours in this list match to the primary and secondary colours that are detailed in the UCC Visual Identity Guide
2017 - Explore This Page
Improving navigation for long pages is an issue UCC and other institutions struggle with. It is usual in an institution such as ours to have a lot of long form text. This is unavoidable given the various application processes and variety of student types. (Though if at all possible this content should be well structured with clear headings and reviewed somewhat frequently to make sure it is accurate and necessary! There may be Webshots on these topics!)
The Explore this page content type, creates an in page menu based on the titles used in any general content on the page. The way this content type displays has been changed. This has been done by making changes to the background code. As a user you will not need to do anything to have these changes take effect. You can choose to have the links display vertically. The default is horizontal and can be seen in the image shown.
Planning for Future Changes
The default look of the UCC site does not work for everyone. In particular research projects. This can be for a number of reasons, joint funding being a major one. When money is coming from multiple directions you need to make this clear. A heavily branded UCC site, perfect for our departments and services, may not be ideal.
Currently such sites end up on our multi-site WordPress installation. The problem here is maintenance and security. One not so up to date plugin and a site can be easily compromised. It has happened in the past and is likely to happy again. Which is why we are ultimately going to retire the Wordpress multisite option altogether.
With this in mind we are investigating the creation of alternative page styles, or "page layouts" as they are called in the T4 CMS. We hope that these new styles will work as an alternative option for such research sites.
A lot of time has gone in to this this quarter, and we hope to be able to have these styles available by the end of Q2.
We have a DEWG blog for which we use the news-item content type as blog post. For our needs this is sufficient. But we do have others looking for a more ‘bloggy’ blog style. This is another thing that we have dedicated time to researching this quarter. It is a surprisingly subjective area, with a multitude of layouts and features being used across the internet. We hope to come to a consensus in Q2, with content and page layouts available before the start of next semester.
We Need You!
Yes you, to help us to continue our improvements. As stated earlier, any suggestion you have, has the potential to massively improve the overall user experience of the UCC site. So please don’t be shy, complete Improvement Request form today!
For more on this story contact:
Noelette Hurley | IT Analyst - Webmaster | IT Services | firstname.lastname@example.org