With the fight for students between universities becoming ever more competitive, more now than ever is a powerful and succinct web presence critical to be able to deliver important information to prospective students, and to distinguish and position ourselves in the market.
Web Solutions at Kent are undertaking a project to examine and report on the web publishing model at Kent, focusing on ways in which to empower publishers and allow for more efficient uses of time, all whilst supporting an evolving brand.
In order to understand and build a picture of publishing here at Kent, and to ensure our recommendations are appropriate, we have broken down the project into the following key stages.
A standard stage in any Web Solutions project. The requirements gathering stage sees us immerse ourselves in the problem we are trying to solve and what our client wants us to deliver. In this instance we know that due to changes in the software licenses, scalability and usability, the current web publishing model (Dreamweaver, news blogs, Pantheon) may not support our web presence in the way that we need it to.
Broken down into two distinct stages, we focus on our competitors and the technologies they’ve used, in an attempt to leverage the lessons that they have learned. We also set up focus groups and distributed questionnaires to our own stakeholders, publishers and colleagues here at Kent to gather there feedback and requirements.
Once we are in possession of the requirements and possible services/solutions, we move to the research element of the project. As the name suggests, this is where we hunker down and focus on the different available solutions. Whether these solutions are off the shelf solutions (often referred to as enterprise grade solutions), open source systems, or frameworks from which a system could be built upon, we need to marry up our requirements to the technological capabilities and also qualify to ensure that they would work if employed here at Kent. With collaboration from our colleagues in Web Development (who are working on the current theme project) we will short-list the available solutions that we wish to report upon.
In order to ensure that we recommend the university the most appropriate and cost effective solution, we will take our short-list and evaluate each solution based upon how they satisfy our needs. From ease of use through to sustainability and permissions systems, we will work our way through our check-list of requirements and focus upon how each system meets what we need from our web publishing solution. Bolstered by our conversations with publishers and stakeholders in addition to our discussions with other universities around the UK, we will be in a position where we can understand what each solution will bring to Kent, how it will support our work, save us time, and empower us to improve and sustain our web presence. The output of this stage will see us producing a report which will present a balanced set of recommendations which will in turn provide the basis for the next stage of our process.
The final stage of our project will see us preparing a report which will be submitted to ITMG. This report will collect the fruits of our labour and provide the university with considered and detailed solutions that would be suitable and available to the university. This would be further qualified by costings (the cost of doing nothing, employing a new system, sustaining a new system for example) followed by a final recommendation. This final recommendation will then provide the university with the tools they need to be able to decide upon a system that will hopefully not only save the university money in saving efficiencies, but be scalable enough to support the university into the future with all the advancements that lay ahead in the world of the web.
We’re thrilled to be undertaking this challenge for such a crucial need for the University and cannot wait to deliver our findings.