22 November 2019

The evolution of our new CMS

How our new CMS is growing and evolving to meet the needs of both visitors and editors.

An illustration of two websites being analysed by the users. There is a question mark. It is implied that the users are being asked to choose if they prefer design option A or B.

A key focus of our work on the new CMS in 2019 has been to develop functionality that makes it easy for our editors to create clear and consistent content. We’ve talked a lot in the past about our top task-led approach to the new website which has helped us to understand the questions and information requirements that our visitors have. 

As part of this, we’ve seen that there are a number of common themes in terms of the types of content we need to produce and publish in order to meet our visitors’ requirements.

At the start of our project, we had only one template - a standard page for both information and visual signposting. Since then we’ve spent a lot of time understanding the different types of content that’s commonly seen across the University website, both by speaking to editors about their requirements and carrying out ongoing user testing with visitors to find out what information they are looking for and how they expect it to be presented. 

Over the last few months, we’ve enhanced and added to our list of templates, or Content types as we call them, to make it easy for our editors to create useful, consistent and well-organised content. 

The new CMS currently has the following Content types available to editors: 

  • Basic - our workhorse template that allows for the creation of clear, simple information pages using a combination of text, media and other common website features such as data tables, accordions etc. 

  • Home -  our department home template with impactful hero banner, visual signposting options and a simple way to feature important news updates. 

  • Hub - another visual signposting page for editors that tends to be used as an introduction to the different sections within their site. 

  • News story - our simple template for adding news updates that features a display date, headline, copy, media etc. 

  • News link - this can be used by editors to generate a link to external media coverage (e.g. a piece in the Guardian) or news from elsewhere on our site. This link can then be featured in a department’s news listings or embedded into website pages. 

  • News index - the News index automatically pulls together News stories and News links from a department site in to a listings page, with editors having customisable options to ‘feature’ their most prominent or important stories at the top of the page. 

  • Student profile - this template gives our editors the ability to create consistent, impactful student profiles while capturing key information (course, level of study, nationality etc) in a structured and organised way. 

  • Student profile index - As with the News index, this gives editors a simple way to display a list of their student profiles on a page.

As part of our project we’ve also developed our Course Content type for the PGT online prospectus and two Modules Content types as an interim solution to help departments with CMA compliance as part of their published course information. 

We’re also currently looking at our approach to staff profiles and how we can give editors another elegant and simple way to create and manage a common type of content across our website.

The development of our new CMS aims to unify the needs of our visitors in terms of their top tasks and the needs of our editors when it comes to producing, publishing and managing content that meets our visitors’ needs.

By designing bespoke templates for common types of content, we’re making it easier for editors to create clear, consistent content and to be able to display it in an efficient, engaging and impactful way.    

Get in touch

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