Publishing content in the right place for your audience

This guidance will provide you with an overview of the University’s Student and Staff hubs, including their aims and intended audiences, so that you can identify the most suitable place to host your content and which CMS to use.

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Introduction

What are the Student and Staff hubs?

The Student and Staff hubs provide secure, internal digital websites (sometimes referred to as Groups) to present content to students and staff, making it easier to locate relevant information and collaborate within the University.

Who are the Student and Staff hubs for?

The Student and Staff hubs are for anyone who uses the University’s digital ecosystem on a regular basis - primarily current students and staff.

Anyone without a University computer account will not be able to log in and, therefore, cannot access any content hosted on the platform.

What’s different between the Student hub, Staff hub and external-facing websites?

The primary difference between the internal and external-facing websites relates to access. By default, anybody can access the external website, whereas any internal website content will require a user to log in to their staff or student account.

As a result, visitors to the website will see more content that is relevant to them, and less of what’s not.

The interface and functionality of the Student hub CMS and Staff hub CMS is broadly the same as the main CMS. Some features and Content types are not present in the internal system(s) where they aren’t needed; equally, new Content types may be developed in future for internal-only content.

Who can view each hub?

Staff and postgraduate students will be able to view content across the public website, Student hub and Staff hub. Undergraduate and postgraduate taught students will be able to view content on the public website and Student hub.


Content

When should the Student and Staff hubs be used for content?

Content on the internal platforms should be aimed at one or more of the aforementioned audiences, and not relevant to an external audience, such as prospective students, members of other institutions, parents and other visitors.

The content does not have to be sensitive, confidential or otherwise private in order to be hosted on the internal system - it should simply be intended for anybody who is studying or working at the University.

What happens if I have external and internal content?

Most external-facing content is already hosted on the main, public University website, having been migrated there as part of the University Website Project (UWP).

All content should be categorised as being suitable and optimisable for one of the following three platforms and their audiences:

  • Public website (CMS) for external audiences
  • Student hub CMS for current students (accessible by staff)
  • Staff hub CMS for University staff

My content is relevant to external and internal audiences - where should it be hosted?

The decision on where to host content should be determined by the target audience. Users have told us that reading through content addressing different audiences at once is confusing. With separate external and internal-facing platforms, you should optimise your content for the target audience to provide a better overall user experience.

In the case of content being ambiguous or potentially relevant to multiple user groups, it should be reworked into two distinct pages or groups of pages for external and internal audiences, and hosted on the relevant platforms.

For example, the Careers Service requires an external presence to inform prospective students about the support that is available if they choose to study at Sheffield. However, guidance on how to access most of that support is only relevant to current students, therefore the internal-facing content can go into much more detail.


Choosing the right platform

You can use the guidance below to determine the correct solution based on your website audience.

Our service / department supports only current students
  • Publish the information in a relevant section / sections of the Student hub CMS
Our service / department supports only staff
  • Publish the information in a relevant section / sections of the Staff hub CMS
Our service / department supports both current students and staff

When information and user journeys differ depending on the visitor - student or member of staff:

  • Publish the information for students in a relevant section / sections of the Student hub CMS
  • Publish the information for staff in a relevant section / sections of the Staff hub CMS
  • Content should be tailored to each audience. It should not be identical.

When information and user journeys are the same for all visitors - students and staff:

  • Publish the information in a relevant section / sections of the Student hub CMS
Our service / department supports current students, staff and visitors to the public website

When information and user journeys differ depending on the visitor - student, member of staff, visitor to the public website:

  • Publish the information for students in a relevant section / sections of the Student hub CMS
  • Publish the information for staff in a relevant section / sections of the Staff hub CMS
  • Publish the information for external visitors in a relevant section of the CMS for the public website (sheffield.ac.uk)
  • Content should be tailored to each audience. It should not be identical.

When information and user journeys are the same for all visitors - students, staff and visitors to the public website:

  • Publish the information in a section of the CMS for the public website (sheffield.ac.uk)

For external users (not prospective students), use:

  • Google Drive - for content that may need to be shared with external stakeholders, such as institutions working with the University.
  • Google Sites - for content aimed at a very specific internal audience (restricted user access).

What about my existing Google Site / self-built site?

The Student and Staff hubs are in their first phase of development, and at this stage, we are prioritising populating them with content from the unsupported and insecure Legacy CMS so that it can be deprecated as a platform used by the University.

If you manage websites on other platforms, you should think about the most appropriate place to host them. If the content will need migrating, speak to your contact in the Internal Website Project team or Digital team.

Useful information

The University’s recommended platforms

Support migrating sites from cPanel to better supported platforms


Security

What about content security and confidentiality?

Our content management systems and websites are built on software that is regularly updated and maintained by the University, providing assured security.

The Student and Staff hubs have an additional layer of security requiring users to have an active University computer account and must be logged in to be able to view internal content. 

All content included on pages must align with the University’s Guidance on Information Classification and Handling.

Further information about record management documents can be found on the University's Records Management Policy and Guidance page.

Only 'public' information should be included on public-facing web pages, including attachments and links within those pages.

If your content requires further restricted access (such as password protection for specific users only) it should be kept in a Google Drive folder or a separate approved University storage solution which will require specific permission to access.

Get in touch

If you have CMS questions or are stuck then get in touch and we'll do our best to help.