Summary

The Office of External Affairs and Communications, Management Information Services Division and University Computing Service are building new web templates and components for use by University of Cambridge websites which will be available by mid to late February 2013. Integration into the UCS Falcon and MISD's Drupal Content Management Systems will precede this. We will also be managing the production of a Wordpress theme based on the templates.

The templates are being built in response for the need to:

  • allow our sites to be accessible from mobile devices
  • update the existing templates with forward-looking technologies (responsive design) that have the aim of future proofing University of Cambridge websites for the next 5-10 years
  • update the look and feel of our sites
  • align multiple sites which fall under the banner of Cambridge University to a consistent look and feel

The contract for designing and building the new templates and components has been awarded to Head London. This was after shortlisting and interviewing 3 design agencies from a pool of 11 who tendered.

Background

In 2008 we produced new web templates with the goal of making our sites more consistent and contemporary whilst maintaining a coherent visual and functional link to our previous website. These templates now need updating to refresh the visual style of our sites and to make them responsive to the variety of mobile devices now in use.

Our websites are devolved across 150 departments, faculties and schools (our colleges are not part of this project). Our websites' content includes over 1.6 million web pages and 10,000 pieces of video and audio spread across over 900 web servers.

This devolution supports the University as a "self-governed community of scholars" but it leads to inconsistencies in how our sites look and function. We would like to reduce these inconsistencies, and push our sites forward functionally so that they are fit for purpose over the next 5 to 10 years. In particular we expect our sites to work well on as many devices as possible, and retrofitting responsive design into the current templates is proving impossible.

The University has to support a flexible approach to web publishing, but there is an urgent need to amplify and make achievable the best online experience possible.

The University's web presence needs to reflect the status of the University as a world-class, cutting-edge institution. It needs to be attractive to potential research funders and donors, new recruits, alumni, and the general public. At the very minimum, we need the appearance of a joined-up University.

Whilst these new templates will assist in this, we will also be offering training and support in the fields of creating and sourcing content for your websites.

Feedback and questions

You can send feedback and questions about Project Light to digitalcommunications@admin.cam.ac.uk