College web strategy - Summer 2009

Vision

Due to the work of the web programme over the past 7 years the College has a well branded and coherent web presence encompassing the main College site, faculty and department as well as many research group sites. Content management systems supported by applications such as PWP’s and News and Events provide the tools to enable interesting and up to date content to be published via our web sites. Centralised hosting environments with comprehensive backup and disaster recovery processes provide a resilient and high performing web presence.

Over the next few years the vision is to harness the substantial College resources engaged in web activities, both formal and informal, to provide better direction and support to this community, and to share the best coming out of it amongst the entire College web community.

Support for the web presence of less formal groupings in or associated with the College, such as College research groups and cross institution research initiatives, will be a focus to ensure that even at this level the web presence is professional and supports the image of the College.

The College web presence will be run by a community of interested contributors developing and sharing their outputs, directed towards the common good of the College by the Web Management Board and its committees and representatives.

The entire College web presence will reflect the values and world class standing of Imperial College from the top level main College website all the way through to research group sites and beyond.

Scope

The web strategy will encompass all College web initiatives.

Principles

Themes

1) Optimising use of the web for research:

The web should support our research community and specifically facilitate cross department/faculty research.

2) Optimising use of the web for education:

The web should support our teaching and learning community.

3) Facilitating collaboration:

Provide collaboration environments and tools to facilitate online collaboration within the College and between College members, both staff and student, and their external communities.

4) User Journeys:

The web is a brutal place and users do not go online (at least not on our site) for fun. They want useful information and they want to get where they are going as quickly as possible. Move to a task-focussed approach to our site’s development providing:

5) Evidence-based change:

Actively manage the web presence using evidence, not anecdote, to drive constant evolution.

6) Intelligent websites:

Develop a more intelligent site using automation to provide helpful content via improved search functionality as well as new features which anticipate what users may want such as “if you’re interested in this you might want to read …” and top 10 documents read today, etc

7) Accessibility:

College web should be accessible to our key audiences. Web accessibility refers to the practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. This includes but is not restricted to adherence to disability legislation.

8) A culture for experimentation and research:

Create the time and internal culture which rewards experimentation and research to identify new opportunities. While maintaining complete control of key areas such as the core College web presence, adopt a more relaxed approach to control of other areas and developments, while accepting this will result in some failures.

9) Responding to the future:

Respond quickly to web trends to ensure College is seen as a leader in the field, by early evaluation and appropriate adoption of new technologies before they become outdated. Encourage participation from our wider College community to help with the identification and development of opportunities, and encourage use of externally available systems and content such as social networking sites where appropriate.

10) The Human factor:

Provide a greater focus on the “human factor” behind the College web presence including: