Aug
26
2015

Pruning the EdWeb content tree

Over the next few days we will begin the process of tidying and restructuring the EdWeb content tree.

As we migrate more and more sites from Polopoly to Edweb the content tree continues to grow and spread its many branches. It’s important to keep the tree tidy as this will prevent issues arising in the future. An ordered tree will make navigation for editors simple and easy. With this in mind we will be taking various steps over the next week to keep our tree in good operational health. The aim of this action is to ensure the titles in the tree are both clear and concise and that the layout of the tree makes for an intuitive navigational experience.

Naming

First, although we will not be intervening in this area it is important to note that it is good practice for the website banner to be the formal name of the website’s unit. This ensures that users can easily navigate to the site and that the site’s content is effectively communicated to the user.

Our own actions in this area will involve changing the names which appear in navigation to achieve greater clarity and brevity. We will be removing preceding text such as ‘School of…’ and replacing ‘and’ with ‘&’ to create shorter titles. Abbreviations will also be retained. However, to ensure maximum clarity we will be replacing abbreviations with full titles in the title field.

Screenshot of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine banner and navigation panel.

Here the navigation text for the school has been effectively shortened while retaining clarity. ‘College of’ has been removed and ‘&’ is used.

If we consider this to be a significant change to your site we will discuss this with you before taking any action. The end result will be a more clear and concise content tree.

Restructuring

A screenshot of the EdWeb content tree

The entire EdWeb content tree at this moment

The whole tree is large and used by relatively few users. Instead, unlike Polopoly, EdWeb has groups to allow users to easily access and maintain their content. The dashboard functionality also enables web publishers and editors to access their sites and manage their groups.

However, the content tree is still an important navigational tool that must be maintained. Currently, sites are laid out in a flat and disordered structure which will become harder to use as the number of sites grow. The next step will be to edit the content tree into manageable sections. This will enable users to navigate to the correct site without scrolling through a large number of other sites. The structure will be as follows:

  1. University home
  2. Global element ‘subsites’ – Search, Schools & Depts…
  3. Central theme site ‘subsites’ – Staff and Students
  4. A-Z list of all other ‘subsites’ (ignoring prefixes like ‘School of…’)

As more sites migrate and the content tree continues to grow we will be able to place them into this clean structure and ensure excellent usability.

For more information please contact website.support@ed.ac.uk.

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