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University Web Strategy 2018-2021

The University of Edinburgh's Web Strategy addresses how we use web technologies to enhance our students' experience, disseminate our best research and engage with our diverse audiences, in full alignment with the University's strategic goals.

Students using computers in Academic Registry

The University’s web estate and use of online channels has evolved largely organically, which has led to gaps in corporate knowledge and exposed the institution to significant risks. There is a fragmentation of technology, working methods and standards, which leads to uneven and, in some cases, broken user journeys. This strategy seeks to address these issues, with a tight focus on the University’s vision to deliver impact for society through leadership in learning and research.

Vision

We deliver value online by working together to create a consistenly excellent user experience for our global and local audiences

Our vision echoes the University ambition to deliver impact and recognises the need to deliver consistent user experiences across our online offering. It puts collaboration at the heart of our strategy, emphasising the need for joint working and common approaches to satisfy user needs and achieve business goals. It allows us the freedom to adopt new and emerging online channels and technologies, expanding our engagement points beyond websites.

Goals and themes

By achieving this vision, we will:

  • Offer users a coherent online experience

  • Engage efficiently with our audiences and increase conversion

  • Improve the overall content and solution quality of our web estate

  • Increase the online visibility of our content

  • Reduce the reputational, legislative and financial risk around our web estate

  • Embrace new channels and technologies to engage users

  • Increase re-use of technologies and reduce associated costs

  • Work more effectively with partner organisations online.

This vision is underwritten by a series of four strategic themes, each supported by objectives and activities to help the University achieve it.

Common approaches

Develop shared training, standards, technologies and tools to ensure coherent and satisfying user journeys across the University's web estate. Implement a governance framework by which progress is monitored.

Objectives 

  • Improve the quality of our web estate and online channels through the adoption of an inclusive and supportive governance model
  • Enhance the accessibility and security of our web estate by establishing and evolving University-wide standards
  • Improve solution and content quality by improving the digital skills of web publishers and practitioners;  establishing a common understanding of web roles and capabilities;  and delivering web publishing and management tools.
Activities
  • Launch of Web Governance and development of Technical Design and Business Leadership Teams;  investment in Communities of Practice
  • Establishment of governance processes and standards
  • Adoption of common approaches to the development and management of websites, including guidance on internal web services and a web development procurement framework 
  • Development and launch of the Student Digital Experience Standards and investment in the EdGEL design framework
  • Commitment to regular web estate auditing, website register and analysis
  • Tools and skills assessment to understand web practitioner need and interrogate solutions.

User alignment

Develop a deeper understanding of evolving user behaviour and use appropriate existing and emerging online channels to attract, engage and convert our global and local target audiences.

Objectives

  • Make well-informed decisions on the use of websites and online channels with the use of audience intelligence and insights
  • Use the channels our audience expect us to use, we will be where they want us to be 
  • Present a coherent brand and content offering online, utilising websites and online channels as a complementary offering
  • Investigate and use new channels to enhance user engagement.
Activities
  • Content and channels audit to establish baseline presence and quality, allied to the development of content strategy
  • Development of insights and user experience resources and standards
  • Adoption of online channel management tools which can be re-used by business tools for audience engagement
  • Bespoke training packages and skills development allied to new tools 
  • University Website Drupal 8 migration and investment in channel integration.

Personalised experiences

Use data and customer intelligence tools to deliver a personal web experience for relevant audiences, increasing the quality of engagement for both users and the University. Develop an approach to the collection, management and utilisation of user data that increases the quality of engagement for both users and the University.

Objectives

  • Offer a personal experience by focussing on interoperability and integration of web interfaces with appropriate data sources and platforms
  • Add value to users by pushing the right message at the right time through the right channels
  • Increase corporate knowledge of audiences through the use of enterprise analytics and management information tools
  • Collect, manage and aggregate data ethically and responsibly.
Activities
  • Implementation of an enterprise web analytics platform with the ability for local configuration
  • Integration of the analytics platform across our web estate and online channels where possible
  • Integration and alignment between the User-Centred Portal, Notifications and EdWeb Drupal 8 migration programmes
  • Alignment, support and integration with Customer Relationship Management initiatives and platform.

Influential voices

Give our staff and students an online presence to publish and promote their work, and exchange ideas with organisations and communities globally. Ensure their work is visible and accessible to relevant partners from the private, public and third sectors. 

Objectives

  • Increase the online visibility of our best content by giving staff and students managed platforms to publish their work online and a framework for syndication and sharing
  • Help staff and students to make informed decisions and use appropriate channels
  • Improve the support for partnership, working through central websites and online channels. 
Activities
  • Development and launch of an academic blogging platform and Domain of One's Own
  • Investigation into the development and deployment of a centrally managed website publishing platform 
  • Development of policies, processes and quality control mechanisms to support staff and student publishing
  • Development of content syndication and sharing tools 
  • Creation of training materials and investment in associated communities of practice. 

Strategic alignment

The web strategy aligns with national and organisational strategies, plans and activities. In the case of the University's Strategy 2030, and previously with University’s Corporate Plan 2016 and University Vision 2025, analysis has taken place to understand where web technologies are best able to underwrite strategic objectives, including widening participation; student recruitment; enhancing student experience; disseminating research; and engaging with partners.

The University of Edinburgh Strategy 2030

The strategy does not set out to answer the exclusive needs of a business area or address a single specific University activity. As a pan-institutional strategy, it establishes a framework for the use of web technologies, both centrally and locally, to achieve business goals.

The Web Governance Group, as the executive of the web governance, own the web strategy and set the priorities for centrally managed platforms, such as the University Website and the MyEd portal, based on University strategic priorities.

Web Governance Group membership, meetings and papers