Web Support Team Newsletter

WEB SUPPORT TEAM NEWSLETTER

APRIL 2018

Here we aim to keep you up to date with what we've been doing - recent highlights, latest initiatives and general information worth knowing about.

low angle view of the McClay library from the front

WHAT WE DO

QUEEN'S WEB DEVELOPMENT TEAM

We are the main web development team within Queen's University.  We run the University's Content Management System (CMS), as well as Adobe Connect, Questionmark, MediaSite and Video Production.

One of our key roles is developing new digital functionality across the whole of the Queen's website and ensuring that Queen's web presence is running smoothly.

We liaise closely with Units throughout the University to deliver digital projects on time and to the highest standards.  We develop all the web based functionality on Queen's sites. We code the styles, layouts and navigation. We input into the design process to refine proposals, ensuring they fit within our primary objectives which are mobile-first responsiveness and optimised site-wide performance.

There are 8 of us in the team, led by David Robinson, our web development team leader:

  • Caitriona Brannigan
  • Patrick Breen
  • Peter Crowther
  • Michael Kelly
  • Liam Maguire
  • Michael McCullough
  • Stephen Mullan

Our services span a range of key digital Queen's services, including:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Building new web styles, layouts & navigation functionality
  • ELearning
  • EForms
  • Coursefinder
  • CMS Training
  • MediaSite Support & Training
  • Adobe Connect Support & Training
  • Video Production
  • Questionmark
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RECENT HIGHLIGHTS

MAJOR JOINT PROJECT

THE CMS TEAM HELP LAUNCH THE NEW QUEEN'S BRAND

The CMS team played an integral role in launching the new Queen's Brand.

On October 4th 2017 at precisely 11am, the new Queen's brand was launched.  

The CMS team played a key role within this ambitious plan and timescale. We worked with the digital designers to refine the design. We built the digital functionality. We liaised with the Marketing and Branding teams to implement the digital launch across all Queen's websites. 

The feedback for the new brand and navigation has been extremely positive and we're really proud of the work we've done on this and the work of all the teams involved.

We are continuing to update legacy websites with the new brand. If yours is an older site and has not yet updated to the new brand, let us know and we'll make the switch

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Latest Content Types

TWO NEW CONTENT TYPES RELEASED

In March 2018, as part of our continuous web development improvement programme, we released two brand new, fully responsive CMS Content Types:

  • News Carousel
  • Image and Text Expander

News Carousel

This new content type provides you with the facility to display 3 or more news headlines at the same time, taken from the News page within your site and will then display in rotation any additional headlines. It has replaced the previous 'DTP-News Carousel' content type. It provides a dynamic and enhanced content display.

Don't worry, your current news carousels will remain active but from now on all news carousels will use this new content type.

Image and Text Expander

This new content type provides you with the facility to display a single image beside text that can be expanded to ‘read more’ if required. You can add this content type multiple times to the same page to create a stackable display, for example, a display similar to the Staff Roundup. In fact, you're looking at this content type in action right now, because it's the one we're using for the CMS Newsletter.

Guidance on the use of both of these new layouts can be viewed here

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three students wearing headphones practising a second language in the QUB language centre

CMS Service Desk

OUR SERVICE DESK PROVES POPULAR

Our CMS users are increasingly using our self service Sitehelpdesk to log their queries.

Our Sitehelpdesk service is part of a wider Information Services Directorate initiative, enabling staff and students across the university to log their IT queries and track their progress through to resolution.

We recently sent all our CMS users an email reminding them about our self service Sitehelpdesk facility and there has been a steady uptake in logging queries through Sitehelpdesk, especially over the last 2 months.

Since we introduced this facility to our CMS users in April 2017, we have resolved over 1000 queries that have come through to us via the Sitehelpdesk. By far the majority of these queries are support-based, for example, how do I get CMS access to edit my site?  Where are the online CMS training resources?  How do I upgrade my site to the latest Queen's style? and so on.  No query is too small, so don't be afraid to ask!

We are continuing to actively encourage everyone to make Sitehelpdesk their first stop for asking us a question. Response times are quicker, you can view the history of all the actions taken within your query ticket and read how we resolved your query.

Don't forget about our FAQs and training videos which should help to answer most of your questions.

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WHAT WE'RE WORKING ON

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DATA PROTECTION CHANGES

GDPR LEGISLATION

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will replace the current 1995 EU Data Protection Directive from 25 May 2018. One of the big things we're currently working on is preparing Queen's digital presence for this new GDPR legislation. This is a significant piece of work for us, due to both the legal implications and the volume of things we need to implement across sites by the given deadline.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is designed to enable individuals to better control their personal data. It strengthens the rights of Data Subjects. 

Here in the web support team, we are currently assessing our data processing practices to ensure how we're capturing and processing data is compliant with the new regulations. We are also examining how we are communicating our reasons for collecting data and how we provide mechanisms for CMS users to communicate their intentions with their data subjects.

Everyone in the team recently completed our GDPR training via Queen's Online.  If you have any questions about GDPR for your own area, contact the experts in Legal Services at Queen's

There is also lots of information and further links here on a dedicated GDPR page within the Registrar's Office site

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QUEEN'S WEBSITE IN CHINA

IMPROVING SITE PERFORMANCE IN CHINA

Recently, we have been working hard to support one of the key strategic objectives of the University, namely, actively targeting international markets.  We have focused in particular on site performance in China. 

Over the last number of months, we have been carefully recording and analysing site performance data from our website in China. We have been proactive in creating partnerships with our international Queen's agents in China, who have been carrying out strategic market testing on a variety of networks and devices for us.  All of this data has led us to develop and apply the Optimised International Page Layout to our Chinese website and as a result site performance in China has markedly improved over the last 6 months. In particular, page load times are much quicker. 

You can read more about Queen's thriving partnership with China here on the International Global Engagement site

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Image of the inside of a recording studio showing a mixing desk

MediaSite and Video Production

WE NOW OWN MEDIASITE AND VIDEO PRODUCTION SERVICES

Since the 1st April 2018, the web support team have taken ownership of two University services, MediaSite and Video Production services.

Mediasite is a rich media platform and presentation tool for the University that allows staff to create, manage and distribute video content, lectures, presentations and rich media anywhere in the world. 

Our video production service produces high end, broadcast quality, educational video content for the University and also provides training for staff and students in video production. 

Mediasite is a presentation tool for the University that allows instructors / lecturers to make live digital recordings of lectures or presentations – including your PowerPoint slides if necessary. Students can view the presentation over the internet in real-time and/or can access the presentation for viewing at a later date. 

Integrating with learning environments such as QOL or Moodle, Mediasite is a one stop shop for all of your media content.

About Mediasite:

  • It makes content available on demand anywhere over the internet.
  • It is useful for review and as a study tool after viewing a lecture.
  • It enables instructors to create interactive lectures.
  • It creates thumbnail index of presentation for individually paced direct access to specific topics.

Read more about MediaSite here, including access to online training resources

You can find out more about our Video Production service here

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Pair of Blue Cleaning Gloves in a Lab at Queen's University Belfast

SPRING CLEANING

SITES AND CONTENT CLEANUP

We're constantly trying to improve CMS system performance and as part of this we've recently actioned a major content cleanup project.  This involves going through each key channel within the CMS and identifying sites which are no longer being published live and are no longer required in an archive capacity.

During the last month we have purged over 200 sections and associated content from the system.

Have a look at your site structure and if you still have access to an old site that is no longer needed, let us know and we can remove it. Your site structure will be cleaner and system performance enhanced.

USEFUL INFORMATION

A computer trainee and tutor in a computer lab at Queen's University Belfast

CMS TRAINING

CMS ONLINE TRAINING RESOURCES

We have lots of online resources to help you use the Content Management System (CMS). Our online training materials are there to familiarise you with the tasks you'll need to know to edit your sites within the system. Don't forget, if you require access to a temporary non-publishing training page which you can practice on, please let us know.

You'll find a series of instructional pages on our website which have been broken into two key categories:

Begin with the latest common tasks videos, as these are the things you'll need to know to be able to maintain your site, such as modifying existing content, adding different types of links and so on.

The content type pages are a list of all the popular layouts being used across the Queen's style (each web page is built using different blocks of content, each block using a specific layout of your choosing).

You can also view our latest CMS training dates here and enrol for courses via ITrent.

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Webinar Training

We Offer Webinar Training Using Adobe Connect

Here in the Web Support team, one of the key services we offer is consultancy and training in the University's primary webinar tool, Adobe Connect. If you are interested in using a webinar as part of the delivery of your course, or to conduct a business meeting, you will find this useful.

The Adobe Connect course is designed to help you prepare for and present effective webinars using Adobe Connect as a host and provide you with advice on the best practices. The skills learnt will also be transferable to other webinar platforms.

The duration of this course is 2 hours, with an additional 1 hour should you wish to practice in some of the prepared environments.

The next course date is 9 May 2018 and you can enrol for this via ITrent