Creating a world-class web publishing platform – How you can help

We have just started an exciting new project to build a new web publishing platform for the University to replace our current Content Management System EdWeb.

The University Web Strategy identified the need for a programme of activities, including the  development of a new Website Publishing Platform. This is not just a technical upgrade; it’s creating a new approach to publishing and a whole new way of working for our Website and Communications team. No small task.

Our vision

To create a world-class web platform that empowers our communities and promotes a model of excellence.

The new platform will replace EdWeb, and we also want it to be the first and obvious choice for our entire web community. We have formed a close working relationship between our partner digital agency Manifesto and our internal team, with an emphasis on the joint building of processes, ways of working, infrastructure and code. The gradual transfer of capability, knowledge and responsibility to these internal teams has started and will continue to be achieved with a mix of co-working, formal training and documentation. One of the first things that Manifesto are helping us with is to improve and work on our Agile processes using the Scrum methodology. We are now starting to build up a really good momentum.

The eventual goal  is  complete independent ownership and operation of the platform, CMS and estate, and the ability to pass the knowledge and methods on to new team members and the wider development community.

Our community

We need to build our new platform in consultation with our communities. Our first step will be an evidence-based, functional prototype for the web publishing platform.

This platform needs to be flexible and geared for iterative improvement to support ongoing business and user demands. The delivered solution must support central and local innovation, allowing website teams in schools to make use of and extend appropriately, aligned with agreed University standards and guidelines.

Aside from the central team, our community extends across the organisation – from system administrators and developers to UX and user-centred design practitioners, content creators and marketers, each operating with significant autonomy and responsibility for their own sites. We need to take this into consideration as early as possible in any decision-making process, so we want to emphasise the importance of user-centred design, backed up by user research, and using the experience and expertise of staff around the University.

To enable  the  coming together of  the wider web estate, the publishing platform must  also  be able to support the needs of our devolved community  of developers and administrators who are responsible for building, developing and managing our wider web estate, from Colleges and Schools to individual research projects.

We have opted to continue using Drupal as this platform and surrounding processes support highly distributed development, allowing code contribution back to a managed code base. This will also help us create a strong governance model for our development collaboration model. Our aim is to significantly free up development resource for distributed teams by solving common problems in a common way.

How you can help

This is where you come in. You can have your say and influence the design and development of our new web publishing platform.

Help us identify the most important features by completing our short survey on Microsoft Forms:

Have your say – access the survey

This is an important survey that will inform our planning for the new platform – so do please highlight to others who may find it relevant.

 

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