Web Publishers’ Community – September 2016 update
This month’s WPC session focused on research done on social media integration with the University website, the power of repeat usability testing, EdGEL for blogging and the use of GitLab in the development process.
Social Media Research – Siraj Sabihuddin
Siraj interned at UWP for the first six months of this year, investigating social media use at the University.
His main findings included:
- University website engagement from social media is low
- Specific social media facebook and twitter channel engagement is high
- Training is needed for staff on how to best use social media (rather than learning new tools to use)
- University doesn’t engage with 6 out of the top 10 social media platforms
Regarding the last point, it was interesting to hear that half of the top social media platforms are Chinese sites. Siraj posed the question whether the University should get involved in posting on these sites as a means of targeting Chinese students.
The power of repeat usability testing – Vanessa Zervogianni
Vanessa presented a case study of work the Usability Testing Service supported on an app to help students to find availability in PC labs around the University.
During the first round of usability testing for the app, students struggled to guess the purpose of the app, and it was sorting availability of PCs by number, meaning it could be showing PCs two miles away from where the user currently was.
The app builders then improved on these issues, restructuring the interface and prioritising availability by geographic location as well as by number, and users were able to quickly guess the app’s purpose during the second round of usability testing.
Vanessa stressed how important it is from the very beginning to start with user needs, directly interact with users using prototypes as soon as possible and iterate and improve frequently. As she nicely summarised, there is no ‘done’ when it comes to your products – work can continually be approved upon in line with user needs.
If you are interested in using or finding out more about the Usability Testing Service, visit their webpage.
EdGEL for blogging – Callum Kerr
Callum is currently building an EdGEL theme for WordPress, but stressed the focus was on the GEL as we’d like it to be used for other platforms besides WordPress.
He is looking for feedback on how the University blogging community currently builds and read blogs. This will have implications on the styling of the theme. For instance:
- Should the right hand navigation be a list of months/years or categories?
- Should there be homepage panels listing categories, or a widget on the side?
To see the blog mock-ups and send any feedback on this topic, see Callum’s EdGEL for blogging post.
How GitLab is changing our development processes – Callum Kerr
GitLab is a repository manager that stores and versions our application code.
GitLab is free, open source and does not rely on 3rd party hosting as everything is stored on a local machine. Users can ‘clone’ the code from the repository, and ‘push’ back any changes to it, so multiple developers can work on the same piece of code at once.
Callum explained how this process is a break from the old ways when the LIVE codebase was the golden copy and there was no versioning. With GitLab, the source code is the golden copy, and there is branching for formal versioning and change tracking.
Join us at our next Web Publishers’ Community, tentatively Wednesday, 2 November.