by Pamela Agar
One of the web team’s current priorities is delivering a new online approach to College news. Led by the Communications & Development Division, with Caroline Davis project managing, this revamp will change how news is presented on the College website. At the very top level developments will include bringing together College news and Reporter online, and at departmental levels the new approach will offer enhanced presentation of news, better display of news highlights on local pages and improved functionality for all.
Enhanced functionality will include:
- News anytime, anywhere – using responsive web design to create mobile / tablet templates
- Comments – enabling discussion about our news (optional)
- Related information – providing an onward journey for readers, highlighting similar articles, related multimedia and media mentions
- Real time news highlights – latest news, latest comments, latest multimedia
- Enhanced search - tags and categories, plus site specific search
- Integration with PWPs – match articles to academics
- Social media integration – enable easy publishing
- Acknowledge funders and sponsors - build our relationship with funders and sponsors by showing where they have supported our work so publicly thanking them
An improved look
As well as enhancing the functionality of the news system, we’re considering the best way to display news content online. The design of news sites generally differ from other websites that are set up to provide information, which may remain current for months if not years. News is fast moving and ever changing – and news websites reflect that. While we’re not expecting new content from Imperial to be coming through at quite the same rate as on the BBC, Guardian etc., we have looked at those sites for inspiration in developing a new look.
The proposed new design is quite different from the main website design, though still feeling part of the Imperial web presence. Our plan is that the design for news will remain, even when the main website template is redesigned down track.
Have a look at the designs so far – and let us know what you think:
What does it mean for you?
At the top level of the College website, the news section will include a number of themed “landing pages” (College and Campus, Engineering, Health, Science and Business) which will provide a place for departmental news to be highlighted – hopefully giving greater prominence to local stories and announcements.
If you are currently using the news system, your main news listing will move into the new design. These listing pages will contain the feed name, plus a “back” button clearly taking users back to the page they came from.
You will still be able to pull in articles of interest into your own local feeds as well as pull in complete feeds (to enable departments to show all sub feeds within their research groups etc).
If you are currently using news:
- The article creation form will change – more information will be required if you wish to make use of the new functionality. Most new information is optional
- Image cropping tool will be extended to create all the new images needed quickly and easily
- Articles published prior to the launch of new News will not automatically change design – but if you choose to edit an old article, the new form will be launched and additional information will be required
If you’re not currently using news, it is worth considering whether you should! We’ll be running some skills surgeries in the new year to help you to consider how you can use news in your department.
We’ll keep you posted on this project via the Web Forums and this blog – please do let us know what you think of the designs so far…