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Web Publishing Community session – 4 December 2014

At this month’s Web Publishers Community session we had a busy line-up. Duncan MacGruer gave us an update on the EdWeb project and introduced us to the EdWeb Migration Handbook, which is now available on the support wiki. Neil Allison explained the idea of applying ‘Agile’ principles to usability testing. In the more technical second half Arthur Wilson explained how he created Drupal content by importing from a spreadsheet.

The agenda for this community session and Powerpoint slides for the presentations are available on our support wiki.

Web Publishing Community Session 4 December 2014 (requires EASE login)

EdWeb Migration Handbook – Duncan MacGruer

Duncan explained the stages of migrating Polpoly sites into EdWeb and introduced us to the EdWeb migration handbook wiki, a guide to preparing your site for the migration process.

The handbook has a handy flowchart summarising the process from beginning to end and a checklist of the tasks that we recommend you do before your site is migrated.

Duncan’s top tip for the two tasks to prioritise ahead of time are:

  • start to source new images. The new site uses larger image sizing.
  • check that every overview and content page in your website has a summary paragraph.

Migration Handbook wiki (requires EASE login)

Making usability testing agile – Neil Allison

This was an interesting presentation from Neil about applying an ‘Agile’ development process to rough and ready usability testing. He described his experiences applying this to the EdWeb project.

The first challenge was to “get the right people in the room”. For Neil, this was everyone with a stake in the product – no exceptions.

He then had them observe real CMS users doing real tasks. The tasks were agreed collaboratively by the team and presented as facilitated usability testing sessions. Each session was fairly short – no more than 30 mins – and there were only a few on a given day – usually three. A small number of users is still useful.

The most striking truth of the curve is that zero users give zero insights.

All the observers took individual notes. These were shared at the end of the sessions and issues prioritised and resulting actions agreed.

What makes this Agile is repeating this process with each iteration of the project, refining the product and allowing you to see how the changes that have been made affect the user experience.

Read Neil’s blog post on making usability testing agile

Creating Drupal content from a spreadsheet – Arthur Wilson

Arthur told us about a project where he and his team were able to import information stored in a spreadsheet into a Drupal website. By using the feeds functionality and a module called feeds_tamper, they were able to parse the contents of the spreadsheet and automatically generate “People Profiles” for over 150 supervisors in a Drupal site for the neurosciences PhD finder.

This is something that could prove very useful for EdWeb users if it can be adapted to our system.


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