Design Systems: benefits and challenges

University of Leeds is a large organisation. With over 39,000 students, over 9,000 staff and a web presence consisting of more than 1,500 websites visited by millions of people, our biggest challenges come precisely from this impressive scale. Every design component, every snippet of code, every plugin that we create needs to be stable enough to be rolled out across hundreds of websites.

In 2020, in order to establish a more effective process for managing design and code for the university websites, work on the University of Leeds Design System started. Design system is a relatively new concept. Some of … Read more >

How to Choose the Best Web Content Management System

Web content is a business asset. It’s how your company comes across to the world: to everyone who ever engaged with your brand, and to anyone who ever will. With more and more customers choosing digital channel as their preferred form of engagement, the value of web content cannot be underestimated.

Web content management system (Web CMS) is a software platform that allows companies to store, manage and publish large volumes of web content with relative ease. It’s essentially a house where your web content lives. The system itself doesn’t create quality content – web editors do, but suboptimal Web … Read more >

Pros and Cons of Content Versioning in WCM

Professional success in creative industries depends heavily on your confidence. With confidence, ideas take shape quickly, projects get delivered, clients are happy. Without confidence, creativity feels like a journey through a cloud of thick fog and produces results that lack clarity and direction.

Early in my career I worked with an experienced, outgoing and remarkably confident creative director Andy Hutchinson, who is now CEO of a brand and design digital agency called Incredible (Leeds, UK). Back then Andy asked me to make minor amends to the web design concept I developed, in response to client feedback. I made the … Read more >

How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Web Content Management Projects

There is no shortage of IT projects that ran over time, over budget or under-delivered on value. Managing web CMS projects is hard because it relies on using new unproven technologies, ambiguous terminology, and requires agility in order to accommodate changing requirements. 

Here are some tips that will help you to avoid common mistakes.

Engage with stakeholders and users early and often

In the rush to deliver the project on time, it can be tempting to jump straight into implementation. Whilst this can give a false sense of security early in the project, the risk of not involving the right … Read more >

The Web CMS Project Lifecycle

One of the reasons web CMS projects are so hard is that organizations don’t do them very often. Lessons learned are forgotten a year or so after the project is finished, people move on, and, by the time the web CMS is under review again, most of the previously acquired knowledge of the CMS marketplace is out-of-date.

Lack of experience in running web CMS projects often leads to sketchy planning. Not seeing clearly how the project will develop and what challenges each of the project stages brings makes accurate estimates difficult.

Here is a quick overview of the lifecycle stages … Read more >

Assembling a Winning WCM Project Team

EContent Magazine - Summer 2019Assembling a Winning WCM Project Team, Marianne Kay

The roles and skills required for a successful Web CMS project completion can be divided into three groups: business, content and technical. These groups often work in different departments with conflicting priorities. The first two (business and content) typically belong to marketing, and technical roles are staffed by IT.

When a web CMS project goes well, it’s because of the hard work of people behind the project, who are able to surface and deal with the challenges, not only individually, but also as a team that builds on each other’s expertise.

When a web CMS project goes wrong, it’s usually … Read more >

Web Content Management systems in Higher Education (UK)

What content management systems (CMS) do Universities use? Here are some examples.

University of Aberdeen  OpenText
Abertay University TERMINALFOUR, Umbraco
Aberystwyth University TERMINALFOUR
Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge Sitecore
University of the Arts London TERMINALFOUR
Aston University Easysite
University of Bath Bespoke system, developed in-house
University of Birmingham Contensis
University of Bolton Contensis
Bournemouth University Drupal
University of Bradford TERMINALFOUR
University of Brighton  Contensis
University of Bristol TERMINALFOUR
Brunel University London Contensis
University of Buckingham WordPress
University of Cambridge Plone, Drupal
Canterbury Christ Church University Contensis
Cardiff University  Squiz Matrix
Cranfield University Sitecore
University of Cumbria TERMINALFOUR
De Montfort University Leicester
Read more >

Transforming the Future of Digital Journalism

Transforming the Future of Digital JournalismHaving worked with Web CMSs for more than 15 years, I’ve seen a wide range of CMS products—including bespoke solutions built by digital agencies to suit the needs of their existing customers, open source platforms developed and supported by large communities, and proprietary commercial products developed by software houses serving a wide range of industries and use cases. I’ve worked with market-leading CMSs, as well as average, “good enough” CMS platforms. I’ve worked on selection and procurement to replace end-of-life, officially dead CMSs too.

Some of these WCMSs were better than others, but most of them proved frustrating to the … Read more >

Changing the World Wide Web, One Language at a Time

Changing the World Wide Web, One Language at a TimeI grew up in Ukraine and studied English in school every day from age 7. Speaking English fluently was by far the most valuable skill I acquired during my school career. It provided access to better education and a wider range of career opportunities. It enabled professional development beyond what my own country and my native language could offer.

When I built my first website in 1995, it was in English and in Ukrainian. Back then, 80% of all online content was in English, and I was determined to fit in with this trend. I wanted my website to be … Read more >

SharePoint at a Glance

EContent Magazine - Spring Issue 2018If you work in digital marketing, IT or internal communications, chances are you’ve heard about SharePoint. Perhaps you’ve heard that SharePoint is difficult to use, ugly and immobile – so bad in fact, that it’s pretty much a dying platform. Or maybe you’ve heard that SharePoint is a market leading product, adopted by many large organisations and supported by one of the most talented and active development communities in the software industry.

So which one is it?

As I’m midway through the migration of the University of Leeds faculty intranet from legacy platforms to SharePoint, let me share some first-hand … Read more >