In May’s eCoffee session we welcomed back Ayala Gordon and Jonny Vaughan from the Digital Team, to discuss how we provide simple, accessible, relevant, useful information, not just via university websites but digital services as a whole.
In keeping with this approach, Ayala took us through 10-year old Chloe’s questions about the OneWeb project, ensuring that answers could be easily understood (by Chloe, and by us). The slides from the session can be found here: http://bit.ly/10yr_old_perspective_on_oneweb
How does it help me?
Chloe’s question “How does it help me?” is at the heart of OneWeb: taking a user-centric approach to the way that we share information, so that we are telling users what they want to know, rather than what we want to tell them.
At present, users are overwhelmed with a plethora of individual websites and 4 million different URLs, making for a confusing experience. A simpler, unified approach to digital services will give users a better experience. The project considers the user’s journey and how we can best support them throughout, so that our communication happens “in the right place, at the right time, to the right people.”
Users are diverse, so content and delivery need to be appropriate and accessible for a wide-ranging audience. It’s important that content can be easily discovered by different search engines globally, and that pages load quickly for all users, whatever their set-up. GOV.UK is a good example of a simple interface that helps users quickly find the information they need.
“How does it help me?” was also a key question for staff attending the session. The duplicated content that causes confusion for end-users has also meant a need to update information in more than one place; attendees were hopeful the project would reduce this. Clearer and easier access to our information online will also benefit student recruitment, as well as improve research promotion and citation.
Ayala related how a recent design sprint had proved a speedy and successful way of designing and testing undergraduate course pages, ready for the first phase delivery on August 1st.
In order to present data helpfully, it’s important that the data itself is good: this is something the project is also seeking to address.
The latest updates on the project can be found via the Digital Team blog here: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/blog/digitalteam
Our next eCoffee session is Weds 3rd July, 10-11am in LF9. Join us to share tips and suggestions about what works well in Blackboard, and hear from winners of the university’s Blackboard & VLE Awards.