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.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Sunday, 17 November 2013
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.
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.
Monday, 4 November 2013
Sunday, 3 November 2013
I've been reading a great book: 'Simple and Usable' by Giles Colborne. I'd put it up there with Steve Krug's 'Don't Make Me Think'. It really is that good. What follows is a conversation with my 5 year old son about the book.
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
I've recently finished and really enjoyed a book by Giles Colborne - Simple and Usable. So much so, I'd probably recommend this as a good read for anyone, right up there with Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think. A few snippets I jotted down when reading to help me keep in mind...
I had a flick through a slide deck by content strategist and author Sara Wachter-Boettcher the other day. A couple of quotes really stood out for me and set me reflecting on the major CMS project we're working on right now.
The "fiasco" around the US public health service website HealthCare.gov and President Obama's announcement about it has prompted quite a lot of articles and opinions. In among the doom and gloom and politics, there were some good nuggets for those of us involved in public sector web development.
Too many organisations lose sight of the fact that their website should be a self service enabler (or maybe they never got it in the first place). Adding more services and more content just provides more opportunities for the visitor to take a wrong turn.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
David Travis of Userfocus.co.uk talks about what really matters on your website. He likens these customer journeys to the major arteries of London - the red routes.
An interesting take on the power of customer service from Gerry McGovern. He talks about reverse marketing - where the customer's activity searching or using social media provides insight into what they care about.
I've just come across an excellent article on prototyping at Smashing Magazine. Combining principles with solid examples and an overview of tools available, it's probably the best overview piece I've read.
Tuesday, 1 October 2013
A recent article on Jakob Nielsen's site talks about the dangers of challenging navigation. The conclusions drawn from user research observations are interesting, but I feel they're only covering half the issue.
Monday, 30 September 2013
We're in the process of planning a new corporate content management system and I'm determined to give our website content the attention it deserves. This has driven me to read up on content modelling, push out to a group of colleagues and begin the journey. These articles & presentations have proved really helpful in getting things going...
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
A presentation by meetcontent.com's Georgy Cohen looking at the challenges to content being presented by the trend towards responsive website designs. Includes lots of examples of responsive designs around US universities.
Balsamiq is a great mockup tool - it's quick and simple to use. The Balsamiq champions blog is a series of articles by people who have put it to good use. Worth a look if you prototype (or are wondering why you should) - even if you use a tool other than Balsamiq.
Plain English and reading scores are sometimes considered irrelevant for higher education websites. Georgy Cohen explains why intellectual snobbery and sloppy copy can't be allowed to persist on university websites.
If you write web content, this article is worth a look - even if you're not in the business of creating conversion copy. The list of examples just shows the value of reviewing your copy - ideally testing with end users. The impact of a few apparently subtle changes can be enormous.
While copy may seem like small details of a design, great copy is the backbone of successful product experiences. David Simon has written a great article illustrating his point with lots of great examples from websites and applications.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
An excellent series of articles by Ritch Macefield in which he discusses challenges faced by agile teams looking to efficiently build user centred design processes into their work and makes the case for more sophisticated prototyping software.