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Web Publishers’ Community – October Update

October’s WPC took a broader view than some of the recent, more EdWeb-focused sessions. While Bruce Darby did his regular slot on the latest EdWeb developments, we also heard more about the University’s new accessibility policy – specifically subtitling requirements for videos, as well as a whistle-stop refresher on the benefits of prototyping and a window on search in Drupal using Solr.

EdWeb CMS update

Bruce brought us up to date with EdWeb as we prepare to begin the new enhancement project. Kicking off in November, the first development iteration begins on the 23 November using the same development team, co-located with the UWP at 21 Buccleuch Place. The enhancement project will focus on new content types to deliver event overviews, landing pages and additional functionality for the University homepage. Watch this blog as well as future WPC sessions for news as developments are deployed.

In terms of migration, we’re delighted to have completed phase four, leaving us with 113 sites left to migrate in phase five which is already underway.

Bruce also gave us a gentle nudge to support work on the University website by voting for it in the Website of the Year 2015 awards. Apparently at last look we were in the top five, so a real chance of success, but only if we can keep up the voting momentum! Please vote for us, encourage others to do the same and get the hard work of all those involved in developing and maintaining the website across the University acknowledged!

Vote now in the Website of the Year awards 

Video subtitling and the new University Web Accessibility policy

Bruce was up again in the next WPC presentation, this time teaming up with Laura Bowles, Senior Web Content Officer in CHSS, to tell us about work that’s been going on to improve access to video content on the University’s website using subtitling or closed captioning and sources of help for those needing to do it.

Video content is becoming an increasing element in teaching resources for both students and staff and in addition to the moral and ethical responsibility we share to make content as widely accessible as possible, the University is also legally required to do so, with recent examples of legal action being taken against institutions failing to deliver their obligations in this area.

This is a subject which we briefly cover in our Writing for the Web training, so it was useful to see this explored more thoroughly and hear about Laura’s work in CHSS to raise the profile of the importance of subtitling among staff and how they prioritise subtitling of their video content.

If you have video content that needs subtitling but don’t know where to start, Bruce and Laura’s presentations (available on the WPC wiki shortly) give more details of requirements and resources and a guidance document and style guide will soon be available from the University IS Accessibility website, so there is support around if you need it.

Web Publishers’ Community wiki

Prototyping – A Refresher

In this refresher session, Neil Allison took us through the basic principles of how and when to make best use of prototyping to help formulate ideas and design concepts.

Best used early in the design process before you’ve invested heavily in coding or a worked up design, prototyping is quick and easy to do and offers real benefits in a number of areas, from uniting team members behind a particular approach, to easily exploring a number of ideas around a particular concept, to working through user experience issues.

Neil shared a few examples of different approaches to prototyping and how to user test with your representative audience as part of the design process, either prototyping on paper or using software such as Balsamiq, a tool we use within UWP and for which we have recently developed EdWeb templates.

Balsamiq templates for EdWeb

Neil also shared a case study of how we recently used rapid team prototyping within UWP to help inform work on the redevelopment of the website search to fit the new website design. Have a read of Callum’s post from last week to find out more about how the prototyping activities helped to resolve design issues:

Rapid collaborative prototyping enhances mobile search results

Using Solr to enhance the search capabilities of a Drupal website

After coffee, Arthur Wilson gave us a more technical presentation looking at how Apache’s search platform Solr can be integrated with Drupal taxonomy to enhance the search functionality of Drupal-based websites.

As a non-technical member of the audience, it was interesting to see a practical example of how Arthur has made use of the software, using it to provide additional search capabilities within the ‘Scotland’s War’ website, offering powerful search and filtering options across multiple collections and object types, and its potential to provide further enhancements.

Scotland’s War website

The next WPC session takes place 2 December. Booking and more details will be circulated shortly and while we can’t promise Santa, there might be a mince pie or two…

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