Jul
14
2016

A reflection on my summer as a CMS support intern

I’m currently half way through my internship with the UWP team as a CMS support intern, evaluating changes in user behaviour following the migration of University websites to EdWeb. So far, a very enjoyable experience!

Having just finished my second year in Computer Science and Mathematics, this internship with the UWP has been a great match for my skills and interests. Web development is something I have always been enthusiastic about and that I want to pursue in the future.

My time here as a CMS (Content Management System) support intern has been enlightening. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the University’s CMS (EdWeb), creating pages, supporting web publishers and improving existing content. I have gained an insight into the various challenges of managing such a vast number of sites.

EdWeb Website Analytics

My main project during these 12 weeks consists of evaluating the changes in user behavior as a result of the recent move from Polopoly, the previous CMS, to EdWeb.

The long and complicated process of replacing the CMS started about three years ago. EdWeb, more versatile and responsive, replaced Polopoly over a migration process of 18 months. Has this change transformed how users interact with the sites? And if so, in what way? These are the main questions I have been trying to answer. The tool I am using is Google Analytics, a powerful web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic.

EdWeb CMS

Google Analytics

My progress to date

At a first glance, the project seemed almost unfeasible. With over 300 sites to look at, different migration times, different trends and audiences, it was a challenge to find a way to put all of the data together. Under the supervision and guidance of Bruce Darby and Duncan MacGruer, I have overcome and solved these obstacles.

After looking at a few sites, it became clear that sites of similar nature returned similar data. Thus, I identified a representative selection of university sites of different kinds that I could analyse during the course of my internship.

Half way through my project, I have looked at a cross-section of sites and the trends have started to show. The percentage of mobile users has consistently increased, as well as the average time users spend on a site. By the end of the 12 weeks and based on the produced data, I hope to be able to argue that EdWeb-driven sites provide a better experience for users than Polopoly-driven sites.

Overall, my experience here has been very positive and educational. Although my project is individual, I have also had the chance to contribute on various team efforts. If I could make any recommendation to my department, it would be to encourage more students to participate in an internship like this!

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