Tips for Surviving Go Mobile – a Guest Post by Kate Austin

Kate AustinKate Austin is an Information Officer at the Careers Service, her role involves providing one-to-one information and advice to students and recent graduates. As part of the Information Team she researches, develops and edits content for the Careers Service website.

The Careers Service site has recently been through the Go Mobile process. In this post Kate shares the Go Mobile experiences of the Careers team.

The move to a mobile platform was a huge project for us. The Careers Service website covers anything and everything about careers and employability, with users including students, graduates, prospective students, employers and staff.

As you can imagine with all that information our site was huge – so big it has now been broken into four different websites! Now we are through the process and our new website is live, read on for our tips on surviving your own Go Mobile project.

Allow yourself plenty of time

Make sure you set aside plenty of time for your Go Mobile move. It’s a big project and I can promise everything will take a lot longer than you think. Allow extra time to tackle any bumps in the road or issues that come along. When our website went live, it wasn’t perfect – we had problems with broken links and redirects, issues with images and inconsistencies on our new occupations site. Planning in a little extra time for us to check our site before going live would have been a huge bonus.

Consider images

We soon realised the images on our old Careers Service website were not going to work on the new Go Mobile website. Our images were a little outdated and didn’t work well in the new content types, like mastheads.

If, like us, you need to have a photoshoot, make sure you brief the photographer on the types of images you’re going to need. I’d suggest having photos taken which would work well as mastheads. These need to be high quality, large photos with the focus of the image on the right-hand side. If you have your photos taken as mastheads you can always crop down the images to suit other content types later on.

If you’re unable to have a photoshoot, then make use of the University photo library. Thinking creatively and doing a bit of digging can help you find images to suit most pages. For the Careers Service Occupations website, we even managed to find images which represented particular sectors. On our Education pages, for example, we used an image from a PGCE teaching class. We were also able to use an image from a Geomatics course field trip for our page which focusses on careers in the built environment.

Use the demo site

The new content types allow you to display the information on your pages in a range of different ways.

When you’re in the planning process, it’s much easier to figure out what style will work best for your content once you’ve seen the different types in action. So have a look at the demo site and websites which have already gone through the Go Mobile process.

Make use of the training sessions

The training sessions from the Corporate Web team are informative and useful. The T4 training session in particular is great as it’s hands-on and practical.

At the training sessions, you’re also introduced to handy software such as:

  • Hemingway App for writing and editing content
  • SiteImprove for identifying broken links
  • Fotor which is great for cropping and resizing images

Once you’ve finished your training and you have access to T4, try and get straight on and give it a go. Our team had T4 training a few months before being able to edit the new website, meaning we initially had to rely a lot on the handbook which did slow us down.

Ask for feedback

Make sure you get feedback from the users of your website. When we’ve had any problems or glitches, it’s been helpful to have these pointed out as it means we can fix any issues quickly.

We’ve also had some great feedback from students and staff. Most people have commented that:

  • the website is easier to use and navigate
  • information can be found much quicker
  • the website generally looks a lot better (and not like it’s from the 80s!)
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Go Mobile Web Editor Community Event – a Guest Post by Anna Jenner

Anna Jenner, Student Recruitment Officer and Web editor. Anna Jenner is a Student Recruitment Officer in the Student Recruitment Team.

She is the web editor for the Information for Schools and Colleges website, which went through the Go Mobile process last summer.

Anna attended our first Web Editor Community Event (held on 3 February 2016). Here’s what she thought of the session.

I was invited to attend the Web Editor Community Event, the first of a series of events offered by the Corporate Web Team. Its aim was to build and empower the community of web editors across the University and allow us to keep in touch, ask questions and share advice.

I loved the sound of this immediately as I thought it would be a great chance to pick my colleagues’ brains about their websites and learn from their experiences of the Go Mobile process.

Cake and networking

There was also the promise of cake so I signed myself up eagerly (having sacked off my New Year’s Resolution of no cake on the 4 January when I came back to work!). My high expectations were met when I walked through the door and saw a pile of proper size cake (none of these tiny portions!) and lots of tea and coffee.

There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere from the start with ample opportunity to have a chat with colleagues from across the University. Many mirrored my own thoughts and spoke highly of the level of support they had received throughout their Go Mobile experience and celebrated the greater functionality, responsiveness and design of our sites leading to improved audience engagement.

Go mobile: the story so far

After the refreshments and networking opportunities we had a short update on the overall story so far with regard to Go Mobile. You can’t argue with Google Analytics and it is clear to see the positive effect that the Go Mobile process is having on traffic to the University webpages.

This was uplifting to all of us who have worked hard to improve the content and update the assets on our websites, whilst also getting to grips with a new content management system (T4), and made it seem even more worthwhile by seeing the bigger picture.

T4 show and tell

I found the next part of the event particularly useful, where members of the Web Team shared some useful hints and tips about the different features of T4 including:

  • how to use box types to create grid layouts on different pages
  • using the ‘Gallery’ to rotate three or four images on a page
  • different ways to move large amounts of content quickly from one part of your site to another

We got to see how these content types were created in T4 and then shown how they would look on the webpages. This information was very timely for many of us at the event as after the initial setup of our websites, we were now looking to add new features.

I have really enjoyed getting to grips with this CMS and find the functionality and navigation to be so much better to any I have used previously. It took me a while to get my head round but the training offered by the Corporate Web Team was comprehensive and easy to follow. Nevertheless, having the opportunity to get some further hints and tips was very welcome!

Question and answer session

We then got the opportunity to ask any questions about working in T4 and writing for the web. The questions that were asked were very useful and explored topics that I hadn’t thought about in detail, such as how to archive events correctly.

We finished off the event by discussing ways in which we can develop the community of web editors and share content, ask quick questions of each other (rather than constantly bothering our Web Managers – apologies to Emma Cragg, who is quite often harassed by me!) and extend our knowledge through our peers.

This event was informative, clear, concise and a great start to what will I hope become a thriving network of web editors. I am very much looking forward to the next one!

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Reflections on Go Mobile Training – a Guest Post by Ivan Lazarov

This is the second in a series of posts giving you an insight into the Go Mobile programme from the perspective of a web editor.
Ivan Lazarov
Ivan Lazarov is a Public Relations Assistant in the Press Office. His work involves a range of projects, including the International Research Impact campaign, raising awareness of the outstanding work carried out at the Careers Service, helping promote entrepreneurship stories, developing publicity opportunities in India and creating video content.

As part of Go Mobile he is editing the Press Office and Research websites.

Key take-aways from Go Mobile training

I changed my attitude towards creating and publishing content thanks to the Go Mobile training. It helped illustrate the importance of a structured approach prompted by the evolving media production and consumption. Starting with analysing the website data, through to having a hard look at your content to some great tips and ideas. The training covered all aspects that help publishers deliver key messages and engaging content.

I learned a lot of new skills, but I must admit that I still need to look at cheat sheets when editing. Hopefully, this will change soon. The Top 5 Tips for writing for the web are excellent. I refer to them even when I’m not creating web content – they are a useful when I write press releases and internal newsletter articles.

The Hemingway App and headline analyser tools are interesting and I try to use them to streamline my content when possible. I also use Fotor to crop photos and do other minor editing when I don’t have Photoshop available. I highly recommend all of these tools.

The training is hands-on, with plenty of examples and scenarios to work with – I really enjoyed that. Also, the small-group dynamic ensured that all participants were engaged throughout the session. The exercises (not intended to put you on the spot!) helped us put the training into context and align it with what we do every day.

Getting stuck in to editing

The T4 training has been essential to help me get up and running. I’ve edited a number of pages within the Research website and the training is now helping me better understand the development of the Press Office website. Once the Press Office website goes live, we’ll be using T4 all the time to publish press releases and multimedia content.

The Writing for the Web training is helping me craft content that will be fit for the new content types and users’ expectations. As I mentioned, it has helped me optimise the way I write in general.

Advice for other Go Mobile editors

Try to put the training in context and ask lots of questions. The Web Team are friendly and very helpful. Also, use the opportunity to talk to the other editors and exchange ideas.

Don’t worry about taking too many notes – I am a profuse note taker, but the Web Team have produced detailed guides which include everything you need to know and can be used as a reference once you hit the ground running.

Ongoing support from the web team

The web training team run regular drop-in sessions for Go Mobile editors. They also provide space for editors to work when they need some quiet time. I think this is great and recommend you to make use of it.

When I come across any issues, I talk to the Web Team and get them sorted out right away. Many thanks! For me, the support available is more than enough.

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The Experience of a Go Mobile Editor – a Guest Post by Fiona Simmons

Fiona SimmonsThis is the first in a series of posts giving you an insight into the Go Mobile programme from the perspective of a web editor.

Fiona Simmons is the Institute Clerical Assistant at the Institute for Social Renewal. Along with the Institute Administrator she is responsible for the Institute’s website, blog and social media channels.

The first step – Go Mobile training

As soon as my colleague and I sat down to fill in our ‘site purpose’ exercise we knew that Go Mobile was going to be a good thing for our website. A few diagrams and coloured pens later, we had identified:

  • our core pages
  • our main user tasks
  • the business goals that we were to aim towards

At the planning and writing web content session it was brilliant to crystallise our thinking on what the Social Renewal website could do better if we gave our content a makeover.

The next training session, on editing in T4, was totally different. It took us from what was ideal and essential to what was possible. With new types of content available, it became clear how we could practically carry out our plans for a re-vamp. I went into this session with a great keenness to find out how to add link buttons, but I learnt much more!

I’d been looking forward to seeing how the new mobile responsive websites would look but was worried that our website would be the one that it just wouldn’t work for. When I’d finished the training, I realised that the team has a great understanding of our needs as an Institute. And the flexibility in the system would allow us to create content that was more consistent, usable and effective.

I loved getting a chance to practice re-writing content so that it is concise and clear, and working out the best way to structure a page.

We left the training with loads of ideas for the Social Renewal site, and so many options for how we could take it forwards. Of course, with all that enthusiasm comes a health warning.

It takes invested time to bring all this together. The main time-suckers are sourcing new images and re-imagining your site structure to reduce its depth. It’s worth it, and it’s rewarding, but the following will be useful:

  • – for resizing your images
  • Hemingway Editor – plug your written content in and see what comes out
  • content templates – figure out your primary message, secondary message and supporting content
  • a content calendar – use this to plan your web updates alongside your business calendar

Putting what we learned into practice

Now that the training has sunk in, we’re gearing up to have a re-think of our site content. We’ll use the templates that we’ve been given by the Corporate Web Team. In the meantime, just to tidy up our pages, I’m using lots of different types of new content, from social media buttons to tabbed pages.

When I’m looking at a page, I’m now constantly thinking of:

  • the user’s task
  • the business goal that I want to direct the user towards
  • why we want them to visit our page

I can already see the improvements.

If you haven’t experienced T4 (the new content management system) before, then my top tip is to have a play in the system as soon as you have access. You’ll quickly see the new flexibility you have, and the opportunity to re-configure your site in a meaningful way, using the resources provided. If you have used T4 before, as I had, it’s all the freedom with none of the frustration!

My next step is to work with the rest of my team in the Institute for Social Renewal to make our website showcase our activities in the best way it can. We’re very excited for our colleagues to see the finished result!

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