Blogs

City University London Web Team

Category Archives: Upgrades

Iterating the global navigation of a university website

Information Archiecture, Upgrades, Usability, Website.

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve released a new version of our global navigation for the University website. We will be rolling-out bespoke versions to Moodle, Library Services and the Intranets, shortly.

These changes make it easier for our two major types of user — loosely internal and global — to find information and complete tasks in a simple, predicable, efficient and consistent manner.

(more…)

The City Homepage: Travelling through time

Development, Upgrades, Website.

Web Team will be launching a new homepage this afternoon, prior to the commencement of the website redevelopment project. This represents the last significant piece of development for the current version of our website.

To whet your appetite we thought we’d take you on a whistle-stop tour of our (historic!) homepages courtesy of the WayBack Machine at the Internet Archive. (more…)

Social media for City news articles

CMS, Upgrades.

Web Team have revised the news article pages to include functionality for:

  1. Easy access to the most popular RSS feeds at City University
  2. Emailing of articles to friends
  3. Social bookmarking

What is Social Bookmarking?

Wikipedia defines Social bookmarking as a mechanism that:

“allows user to save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.”

.

What does this mean for you?

Social bookmarks allow you to:

  • create a centralised archive of bookmarks independent of a specific desktop computer
  • manually tag, describe and organise content based upon your understanding of the content rather than relying upon search engine algorithms
  • bookmark content priror to its indexing by search engines
  • rank referenced media based upon the number of times that it has b een bookmarked or approved by users. This can be a useful metric when trying to understand the relevance of the article or search results
  • have a conversation/discussion since some social media websites allow users to leave comments about referenced material.

What does this mean for City University?

Social bookmarking allows users to share City news articles. Therefore social bookmarking provides an additional channel for marketing of the University.

How to get involved

To start to use social bookmarking you will need to register with a website. Popular social bookmarking websites include:

Re-branding city.ac.uk

Upgrades, Website.

Web Team have integrated the new heraldic logo into the www.city.ac.uk website as part of the re-alignment of the University’s brand.

Beyond the difference in colour between the themes (predominantly red versus predominantly green) Web Team have also taken the opportunity to improve the usability of site. We have achieved this by ensuring that all colour combinations (for example text colour and background colour) are sufficiently diverse in terms of contrast. This should improve the legibility of all areas of the site affected by our style sheets.

Links

We used Gez Lemon’s Colour Contrast Analyzer extension for the Firefox browser.

Find out more about colour contrast analysis at the Web Accessibility Tools Consortium site.

CMS update

CMS, Upgrades.

https_cms

Tomorrow (11th February) morning, we will be installing a TLS certificate on our CMS server. This upgrade will enhance the security of our CMS because TLS provides for both authentication (i.e. proving that the server really is the CMS) and encryption of data transferred across the web.

What will you notice?

  • The address of the CMS will change from http://cms.city.ac.uk to https://cms.city.ac.uk. We will set up a redirect from the former to the latter, so you shouldn’t have to worry about amending your bookmarks.
  • You may receive a notification from your browser regarding acceptance of a security certificate. As long as you have correctly typed https://cms.city.ac.uk into your web browser address bar, you should accept, or click ‘OK’, to any such notification.

For further information, help or advice, please contact the Web Team.

Better search results on the way

Upgrades, Website.

google logo
We know that a substantial number of city.ac.uk users use the search box, rather than navigation links, to find relevent information as fast as possible.

Currently, search results are returned by querying Google’s standard ‘hosted’ search engine. What this means is that we have very limited control over how the results are styled and presented, and (more importantly) how often Google crawls the contents of our website. Obviously this isn’t a perfect situation, in particular when users aren’t finding information because Google hasn’t recently crawled our site and has yet to update it’s information about our contents.

However, things are set to improve dramatically once our Google Mini Search Appliance, a standalone server that we have recently ordered, is up and running – hopefully within the next couple of months. Some of the most obvious features will be:

  1. New content will be crawled on an ongoing basis, ensuring that new content appears in search results.
  2. Search results will be completely customisable
  3. We will be able to set up our own “ads” for keywords that are placed much like the Sponsored Links you see on google.co.uk, giving us the opportunity to direct users to important and relevent information.
  4. We can define synonyms for university-specific acronyms or terminology, and have those terms displayed as suggested alternative queries.

Watch this space….!

CMS upgrade

CMS, Upgrades.

Collage homepage screencap

Next Tuesday morning (4th December) the CMS will be unavailable from 08:00 until 09.30. During this time we’ll be updating the CMS by applying the latest ‘hot fix’, which addresses a number of bugs discovered since the release of the current version.

Of interest to our users, the following existing defects will (allegedly!) be fixed once the hot fix has been applied:

  1. External links that you add to contribution documents are not automatically approved.
  2. When using Collage with Firefox on Macintosh, clicking the “More” button from the Deploy Folders view has no result.
  3. Using Firefox on Macintosh, performance is very slow when you click folders in the Deploy Folders view.
  4. If you attempt to paste content into a metadata field from a Microsoft Word document, formatting elements from the Word document may also be pasted into the contribution document.
  5. When using the Contribution Editor with Internet Explorer, pressing the Delete, Backspace, or Enter key may cause all bold, underline, or italic formatting in the document to be lost.

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City, University of London is an independent member institution of the University of London. Established by Royal Charter in 1836, the University of London consists of 18 independent member institutions with outstanding global reputations and several prestigious central academic bodies and activities.

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