This week marks a significant step forward in the transformation of the University’s digital presence, with the release of the first stage of our new website on Thursday 13 June.
There isn’t a more important communication channel than our website. It is frequently the first point of contact for prospective students, employees and industry partners, and is a vehicle for sharing our achievements and engaging with our stakeholders.
In 2016, UOW committed to reviewing our digital presence, to deliver a unique user experience and reflect UOW’s distinctive identity and international reputation for quality research and education.
The resulting new website better supports our strategic goal to provide real-world solutions in an ever-changing digital landscape that will enrich all aspects of our academic and professional activities.
The new website platform will improve the speed in which UOW can effectively and efficiently deliver enhancements and changes to our digital environment. It also implements a strong foundation of quality for our digital presences now and into the future.
This first release comprises 120 sub-sites that make up the majority of the public UOW digital presence. Following this release, review and improvement of the user experience and optimisation of content will continue. Work has also commenced to review and enhance our Course Finder, staff intranet, UOW College Australia, and UOW College Hong Kong websites.
This enormous project could not have been delivered without the significant efforts of contributors from across the university. Few projects involve and impact such a vast number of staff and units. To all of those involved, well done and thank you.
Professor Paul Wellings CBE
In 2016, UOW committed to review its digital presence within the context of the UOW public websites and staff intranet.
UOW went to tender seeking proposals for a Content Management System (CMS) with the successful applicant being TERMINALFOUR (T4). To assist with the main goal of delivering a unique and first-rate user experience (UX), external agencies were engaged to assist with wireframes, designs and UX recommendations and a new information architecture (IA).
The website was originally schedule for ‘go live’ in November 2018. Due to identified business risks and technical complexities the decision was made to put deployment on hold. The Library, Global Challenges and IMTS sites were released in early 2019 as ‘‘pilot’ sites while work continued on building and optimising other sites.
After significant effort from over 200 end users and the Web Services team, more than 120 subsites have now passed the quality assurance testing in the new T4 platform and is planned for release on 13 June 2019.
Key changes & benefits
- Modern designs and layouts are mobile responsive delivering a quality experience across all devices.
- Faculties, school and research entities (except sub-brands) have been brought under the main uow.edu.au domain to strengthen the UOW brand and improve the sites’ search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Content has been consolidated with more than 15,000 pages reduced to less than 8000. Further consolidation of the new site will occur supported by site performance data and analytics.
- New templates and content blocks allow for flexibility in page design while maintaining brand consistency.
- Navigating the site is now easier, the Information Architecture (IA), groups information based on user need rather than the structure of the university.
- Ongoing improvement and optimisation: Performance data will be analysed to inform ongoing site improvements in consultation with site owners across the university.
- Release 2 website migration: UOW websites still hosted outside of the T4 platform will be scoped in the coming week. These sites include Course Finder, staff intranet, UOW College Australia, and UOW College Hong Kong websites among others.
- Accessibility: The new website has delivered some improvements in our accessibility rating however consultants will be engaged to further improve our W3C accessibility standards.
- Governance: The Project team has put in place a caretaker role to oversee web governance until a time that a formalised governance group is in place. A focus on governance long past project closure is vital to safeguard against the new website’s degradation.
If critical technical issues, such as broken links or error messages are identified, these can be reported to the Web Services team by raising an IMTS Service Desk Ticket.
If content issues such as incorrect or out of date information is found, please contact your unit’s website moderator.
The site design and function has been determined based on expert recommendations from external UX/UI specialists in conjunction with the UOW brand design and strategy. General feedback regarding UOW’s digital presence can be lodged via the UOW Feedback platform.
The Project Team has responded to some frequently asked questions about the new website.