Updating a large site

By Matt Cornock

Apologies for not updating the site recently. Lots going on at work has encouraged me to spend less time infront of my PC monitor at home. I’ve been converting thousands of words worth of Word docs into pretty, clean, HTML ready for uploading to Moodle. Then (strangely) converting the tidy formating back into Word to make a book version (it all makes sense really). This ‘basket-weaving’ is a break from the other main project I’ve worked on recently: updating the Department site.

I’ve released the first phase of the new Department website, which seems to be working well. There have been a few mutterings of ‘easier to navigate’ and ‘things being clearer’, so the first part of that job is done. Over the next few months I’ll be looking at each part of the site in turn and improving those bit by bit.

Websites should be updated over a long period of time, not necessarily all at once for a big launch. If you make lots of changes and then release in one big go, that’s an awful lot to go wrong all at once. For a big rewrite, I’ve taken the approach to get the whole site onto the new template (which is provided for each department). The main pages at top level (homepage, key recruitment pages, etc.) have been redesigned and reworded according to usability and SEO. Using the existing text content for lower level pages, each section can get re-written in due course. This means that on the surface the website looks ‘finished’ and the time pressures ease off a little. This is important for my current split time on this project and the dependencies of the people writing content who are very busy also.

See the site as it progresses: Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York.

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