EdGEL…what EdGEL?

Jokes. Well, half jokes.

Last week, the CAHSS web team attended a hands-on co-creation workshop on how to improve the EdGEL website, with a long game of increasing awareness and implementation of the GEL and standardising our digital output using best practice and GEL standards.

So, EdGEL.

For the uninitiated, EdGEL is Edinburgh University’s Global Experience Language: a set of digital design and development standards, built to ensure that anyone who uses any of our digital services has a consistent experience. An unbelievable amount of work has gone into creating the GEL but it has not been widely adopted. This workshop was part of a plan to redress the balance.

Discover EdGEL as it currently stands
Some of the University of Edinburgh’s finest minds in digital led the workshop, otherwise busy with content editors, designers, developers, project managers and project sponsors (forgive me if I have excluded anyone from the list!). Everyone at the workshop was keen to make a success of the GEL (this is actually the most crucial element of adoption in my view – the desire to implement).

Our tasks in the workshop were to define
• What is the EdGEL website for?
• What content should it have?
• Design a front page of the website as a screen design (including navigation and content)

And to try to answer some key questions
• How can the website facilitate adoption?
• How can the website support adoption?
• What content should the website have?
• Should the website become a destination experience?

After lively and intelligent debate, across a spectrum of skillsets, we presented our ideas informally for consideration.

It is this type of engagement, that will keep EdGEL alive and it is our responsibility to use it to inform our design and development, whilst EdGEL’s new site is being developed. We look forward to a new-look, updated site, which supports our aims of creating usable, accessible digital output that reflects our needs as digital support staff.

In the meantime, asset creation, guideline consideration and examples of the flexibility of EdGEL principles in situ are being curated: watch this space!

CHSS Research Impacts Site is live!

Every now and then a project brings the whole team together and combines everyone’s knowledge and expertise.

It’s always extremely rewarding to see a final product so we’re very excited to announce the launch of the University of Edinburgh’s ‘Research Impact’ site. Going live today after months of planning, building, recording and editing we’re pleased to say it looks great! We will be adding new case studies and improving the website over the next few months but are very happy with announcing what’s in place to the big wide world. And so without further ado… (drum roll please…) here it is!

http://www.impact.hss.ed.ac.uk/

Humanities and Social Science Research Impact websiteResearch Impact website As a world leading university much of the research that goes on in Edinburgh is helping to change world politics, law, economics, social thinking and practises (to name a few!). Here at the uni we felt that the impacts of many of the research studies in the College of Humanities and Social Science were so outstanding that they had to be showcased. The Research Impacts site has taken some of the biggest personalities and most impactful studies and given them a platform. From rebuilding the face of an ancient Egyptian mummy to the impact of neuroscience on The Church of Scotland, the topics and staff featured are vast and all equally fascinating. Building the website, and in my case producing the video features, was (and is) a huge task given that even though these academics are leaders in their fields they can be far too modest or, heaven forbid, camera shy!

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Adobe Edge Animate (part 2)

As promised, I have tried out extending Adobe Edge Animate with jQuery libraries in order to implement a “drag and drop” functionality. It is meant to be a fairly straightforward task of importing the scripts or including the relevant url paths, through Edge script interface.

Adobe Edge panels

It turned out to be quite fiddly, as including the url path didn’t work for me and importing scripts into edge also turned out to be a bit problematic. There is a separate script for touch devices – jQuery UI Touch Punch, and this seems to be sensitive about the order in which it is included. It has worked after a fashion and an example can be found here: http://www.ed.ac.uk/staff-students/students/new-students/student-support/preparing-for-study/school-and-college-leavers/looking-back/time-management/looking-back

Since Adobe Edge export includes a bundle of files (edgePreload.js, edgeActions.js, main.js as well as HTML files and images folder) the easiest way of including all these in our CMS Poloply was to host these packages separately to be called in via iframes.

Not the most elegant solution.

The new section  http://www.ed.ac.uk/staff-students/students/new-students/student-support/preparing-for-study/school-and-college-leavers/looking-back is a bit of an experiment. It is an attempt to make the activities more interesting than reading PDF files.

Whether the new JavaScript  elements provide an added value is up for debate…keen to hear your views.

 

Could Windows 8 be a bigger flop than Vista?

There’s an interesting article by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld regarding the slow uptake of Windows 8.

In the first four months since the public launch of Microsoft’s new operating system, uptake has risen to 3% of all Windows PCs. That’s a slower rate of uptake than Vista, which managed 4% in its first four months. Vista was widely regarded as a failure, and users held onto Windows XP until Microsoft released Windows 7, less than three years later. The uptake of Windows 7 in its first four months was 9.7%.

Graph showing uptake of Windows 8 below that of Windows Vista, with Windows 7 much higher than both

Source: Computerworld

The big retailers now sell their PCs with Windows 8 pre-installed, so most customers will end up with it by default. That’s whether or not you purchase a touchscreen system. Windows 8 is designed for use on touchscreen systems but since these are still fairly expensive it’s likely that many users will end up with a traditional desktop PC running what is essentially a tablet OS.

The Windows 8 user experience on a traditional PC is pretty awful – it’s like trying to do your work on a mobile phone emulator. Continue reading