No, it was not, as many people thought, the new LiU website being launched at the same time as the new graphic profile. Work is going on flat out on the new LiU website that will be launched in the beginning of November.
Questions came in both from outside and within when LiU changed its graphic profile on 20 May as to whether it was the launch of the new LU website. “Is that all? After almost two years work?”
“No,” says Magnus Johansson head of the website unit. These were the adjustments that were most necessary to adapt the current website to the new graphic profile. We wanted to put as little work as possible into changing the current website so that we could focus on the new one.”
A completely new LiU website will see the light of day in the beginning of November, though an exact date has not been fixed yet. But there will be an intermediate step in the beginning of September when a public beta version will be launched, a bit of a “sneak preview” of how the new website will look and function.
“Then we can show clearly what we have. We can test it and collect opinions,” says Magnus Johansson.
A new website has to have some content when it is launched, obviously. No material will be migrated automatically. Preparations have been going on during the winter and spring in the form of “web huts” for staff who will create and publish content on the website. At the same time three pilots, with the Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, the Department of Thematic Studies and the Department of Social and Welfare Studies have been working, with support from the project, to produce examples of how research work and staff pages can be presented and adapted specifically for the target group.
“There is a decommission plan for how to take out old pages,” says Magnus Johansson. “It has to happen gradually but with a final cut-off for when the old website shuts down.”
Some information will be reworked for the new website, other information will be in other systems like, for example, the new education database Bilda, LiU-Dok the intranet or Lisam. And the information will be brought into the website from them instead.
Work on a new intranet can hopefully start in the new year.
“The new LiU website is developed along the same lines as the brand work and the graphic profile - we take a holistic approach,” continues Magnus Johansson. “We have also taken one approach at the structural level, that is how the whole website hangs together and how it is used.”
Many people are wondering what the new external website will look like and what it will contain. Can you describe it a bit?
“We’re keeping the design for the beta! But I can describe how the content will be organised.”
In the analysis work the project identified five key content types that visitors look for. In the concept for the new external website these have been characterised as:
- staff presentations
- programme and course information for recruitment
- research areas - i.e. communication about popular science research
- research activities - academic research communication or communication researcher to researcher
- in addition job advertisements are important
“We also saw that a very large percentage of the external visitors come via direct searches on one of the major search engine like Google and Bing. For that reason we will build a structure to support that. One important principle for helping visitors find the right information on our website is ‘easy to find your way’ and the search is important in that,” says Magnus Johansson.
In short we can say that navigation in the new website may be divided into three components:
- To provide Google and others with information for the visitors who come through them. Here the underlying metadata behind is important. Labelling of material in accordance with defined taxonomies is also important and not least: text content must be keyword optimised, so the most important words must appear in the text.
- Website searches - an individual search based on “auto-suggest” where you get suggestions for keywords as you begin to type in the search box.
- Two main entrances into the website are research and education and once the visitor has made a choice about these the visitor can then go forwards.
“The fourth component is no double information,” says Magnus Johansson. “Student recruitment, faculties and departments should not write about the same programme three times, for example. Then there is a risk that the visitor finds different or old course descriptions. Information about courses and programmes is a promise. If you don't keep the promise it becomes legally uncertain.”
The new website also allows a minimum of attached documents. The website is not a file library. Neither should there be an inward and outward perspective but rather a match for the visitors needs and the purpose of their website visit. And instead of containing several million pages, there should perhaps be between 6,000 and 10,000 pages on the external website.
“This will entail a major change in the structure,” reckons Magnus Johansson. “In the future the website will not be made in the way we are used to. Those who work with the external website have to have a high awareness of what we should put in it and how to do it.”
Last updated: 2015-06-23