2016, the year in review

We are nearing the end of 2016. This provides us with a great opportunity to review our actions, highlight our achievements, learn from our experiences and set our goals for more success in 2017. These are just a few (but definitely the most significant) areas we worked to develop and improve this year.

Migration to EdWeb

After a number of projects to enable the University to switch from its previous corporate web CMS, Polopoly, to a new open source solution, EdWeb, 2016 saw the completion of content migration. It was a tremendous achievement, involving colleagues from the ISG LTW and Applications divisions. We collaborated with many website owners from around the University to ensure the success of migrating more than 50,000 published content pages through more than 300 websites.

In this 24 second video, Duncan MacGruer highlights the key achievements of the EdWeb migration project.


Collaboration in the EdWeb development community

Building up on introducing EdWeb, we put a lot of effort into continuously bringing the University web community together. The aim was not only to facilitate discussions through regular community sessions, but to actively collaborate to share knowledge and work together to enhance EdWeb’s features. Our highlighted achievement was running two EdWeb code sprints, bringing 17 developers together to resolve a total of 19 issues. All development results were deployed to EdWeb within less than two months of the code sprint date.

In this 38 second, Bruce Darby briefly summarises the establishment of an EdWeb development community this year, and the achievements of our first two code sprints.

In a project co-funded between our team and the College of Science and Engineering, we also delivered a holistic mapping of the EdWeb collaboration framework. We mapped a set of actions against these areas to lead our future efforts. The aim is to introduce new elements and improve existing processes. All this has been achieved by having transparent engagement with the web community through feedback workshops.

In this 39 second video, Stratos Filalithis outlines our draft EdWeb collaboration framework, developed through consultation across the University’s development community and with the support of the College of Science & Engineering.


User experience consultancy

We’ve started devoting more of our attention to improving the digital user experience through the University web services andby  providing relevant training. We ran four open usability sessions, attracting more than 100 colleagues around the University. Late in the year, we received confirmation from the Service Excellence and Digital Transformation initiative for 3 years of funding to focus on establishing a UX team and provide University-wide UX training. Furthermore, Neil Allison delivered User Experience consultancy and training to the University of Aberdeen. We’re looking into more opportunities to delivery similar consultancy for other higher education organisations.

In this 76 second video, Neil Allison describes the successes of the pilot Usability Testing Service, and his plans for an expanded range of services for 2017.


EdWeb enhancements and technical delivery

The team focused this year, as usual, on enhancing EdWeb as much as possible. This has resulted in the delivery of a first iteration of staff profiles, ability to add bespoke sub-site branding and homepage configuration options. Our technical development team has been very busy delivering solutions to ensure high quality content within EdWeb, such as the campus maps application, among others. With this ever-enhanced skill set, we are now a step forward to resolving EdWeb issues in-house.

In this 38 second video, Billy Wardrop outlines some development projects undertaken for University business units this year, which have enhanced their service provision through EdWeb.

Service management

Having put a lot of effort into developments, it goes without saying that ensuring the running of a smooth service was one of our topmost priorities. We addressed the minimal amount of unplanned outages quickly and efficiently, in collaboration with ISG Applications’ colleagues, resulting in high service availability. Regular code updates have delivered more than 60 code enhancements and security patches in 10 code deployments throughout the year. Finally, more than 20 web community and training sessions have been delivered, with more than 350 colleagues attending.

Here’s to an even better, more successful and productive 2017!

A big thank you has to go to the whole of the team, as well as colleagues with whom we collaborated, for making 2016 a great year. I am sure that a similar amount of effort will ensure that 2017 will result in the same, if not higher level of success. We will definitely have a lot of positives to talk about in 12 months’ time.


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