Thursday, 8 July 2010

New front page progress

I've been thinking on and off for about a month now about how we can improve the front page of the Student Development website. I blogged about it a while back (We need a new front page) and got some very useful comments.

The reasons for redesigning it are:
  1. to give us more space to promote topical news and events
  2. to theme our work under three main headings to give what we do more coherence (succeed in your studies, gain experience, plan for a career)
  3. to make things easier to find
Having had an really useful meeting with David Morgan yesterday I've re-worked things a little (see draft below) to give the 'Latest news and events' bit more space for more stories and also given the three themes different colours to try and differentiate them a bit.

We're working within quite a restrictive CSS in Plone so it's not easy to make it look quite how I want it to but it's getting closer. You'll see I've put a space holder image in for story 1 - the reason being I couldn't find an image of the correct dimensions (long and thin) to go in that bit - which probably means that bit's not ideal.

There are still things I need to do, including:
  • put in an obvious Information for employers link somewhere
  • maybe also put in a link for PhD students to supplement the mentions they get within the three themes
What do you think? As usual, all comments gratefully received :)

Student Development staff can login to see the most up-to-date version here.


  1. Shaping up really well. It's only a minor point (as a a way of avoiding more difficuly questions), but "Plan for your career" would be consistent with "Succeed in your studies". Do we mean PGR when we say "Postgraduates"?

  2. Indeed. Minor comments = good. Have changed that now - How do you think we should refer to PGs then?

  3. looks really good!
    in the space where the image marker is you could have a .GIF showing images or text of whats offered, although this might be hard to get to the correct dimensions....

  4. Thanks for comment, Alister. I think the dimensions are going to be a bit of a problem Also fixing the table widths is tricky in plone - as you know!

  5. Within the restrictions of Plone could the Story1 image be 128 x 128 with the text to the side. Slightly larger image and different layout would give more prominence.
    Presumably the 'Story' text will be a title and/or strap line rather than anything lengthy.

    Under Succeed in your studies, how about links to on-line resources (study guides etc)

  6. B just suggested that too - split that image place holder cell and have a 128x128 image in the left hand cell and descriptive text on the right. I think it will look more balanced the other way but, as you say, given the restrictions in plone it might be the best option. Thanks for the comment

  7. Jackie Skelton8 July 2010 at 12:42

    On the Plan for a career entry, could we not include something like network with employers. Obviously employers are expecting students to engage with them particularly when they have come on campus to meet them. It would be good to have a separate link for students to employer activities. Happy to discuss further with CDT

  8. Good idea. I'm trying to keep the lists to 4 items but I agree it definitely needs to be there somewhere -

  9. Jackie Skelton8 July 2010 at 15:18

    In terms of 4 items - when it comes to the employers section, we were looking for advertise your vacancies, exhibit at a fair, deliver a presentation and other ways to engage. On the front page it looks like there are only 3 ways to do so and employers may not go further. If they are not interested in the three they might walk away so to speak but if we have "other ways" they will be intrigued to see what they are.

  10. Great - thanks. I've put no. 4 in. Can you remind me where I link it to?

  11. Jackie Skelton8 July 2010 at 16:23

    here we go

  12. Hi Stu - Looks great.

    I'm still not sure 'Plan for a career' is quite the right wording for the third section as I feel it's a little narrow - perhaps 'Develop your career' or 'build your career' might be better?

    Also, what's your thinkig behind the order of the three headings? There are some strong arguments to have 'plan your career' a little higher up (but I am biased!)

  13. I like 'Develop your career'. Re order - I thought there was a certain generalisable chronology to them...

  14. Aimee Harrisonwild9 July 2010 at 16:30

    Echoing the comments above, I believe we need to make the link between employers and students more fundemental on this page. 'Information for employers' as you mention above will address this from an employer persepective, but from a student perspective, something like: Engage with employers/network with employers/meet employers on campus? etc.

  15. Right, I see - it does make sense if you're ordering it as a chronological journey the student takes.

    I like 'develop your career' too.

    Looking good :-)

  16. Hey Aimee! Will be good to talk about this face-to-face when we get the chance but in the mean time can you speak to Richard W re engaging with employers from a student perspective. I agree it needs to be in there but we need to limit the amount of text on the front page so need to agree what stays/goes. Thanks for the comment

  17. Hi, Yes I agree with Aimee’s comment re employers and students. I am thinking about potential Leicester Award sponsors or tutors and where they might end up. I would like some of the employers who engage with the website to end up on the LA pages thinking ‘hmm I’d like to get involved with that’, with the current format I was hoping to link through from the employer liaison area, not sure how that would work with this format? I know you are still working on this.____But I do love the layout, it’s much cleaner and more logical. __

  18. Thanks, Zara. I'll send round a draft to SD in a minute - I've made most of the changes suggested above. Re linking through to LA from Employer Liaison - can do that, just need to agree how.

  19. Looking at the latest version it just struck me that we might be able to get rid of the right-hand portlets on the front page.

  20. I think we need them on because they're not really covered elsewhere