Changes to the ‘engage’ blog platform

Hello, – your receiving this email because you are  (or were – see end note about archiving sites) an Admin or Editor of a site on the College’s ‘engage’ blog platform.

I’ve been reviewing the site recently with the web team and we concluded that it needs modernising and simplifying to make maintenance easier, take advantage of changes in the technology and most importantly increase the online profile of your research blogs.

I’ve been working with our new graphic designer, Ann Harrison to come up with a new template for the blogs that will hopefully improve:

  • reading experience (clearer layouts and fonts)
  • navigation (consistent across sites, more aligned with UoE styles)
  • search engine results
  • cross-discipline traffic

What’s changing?

Site styling
Most of the changes will be in the platform’s front page, to let readers browse the ‘engage’ site more easily and allow better promotion of new blogs and posts.

Across each site, the standard UoE header and footer will be streamlined and neatened up. I’d like to keep a degree of flexibility and customisation in the blogs, so while some custom detailing will be retired, there will still be options for theming a site:

  • banner images
  • consistent theme colour for titles/links/dividers
  • simplified sidebar style
  • layouts, including options for full-width page, a ‘magazine’ style and sidebar widgets

There will also be some new features, including a ‘Read later’ button, easier tabs and tables in posts, and simpler image formatting and captioning.

Behind the scenes

We’re introducing:

  • better security and spam protection
  • improved search function
  • faster content delivery
  • an automatic ‘lightbox’ option
  • simpler admin dashboards
  • monthly analytics PDF by email, with up to 10 widget panels (preset or customisable)

Better admin and audience experience

The main point of the blog platform is to engage the audience with the research, so we’re planning to provide improved resource pages to make that easier. These will cover:

  • easier site admin
  • using images and formatting effectively
  • using the SEO plugin to increase your audience
  • better automatic newsletter/subscription options

We will also provide a ‘social pack’: optimised images based on your banner/logo for use with related Twitter/FB accounts.

When is the change happening?

I hope to email a preview of the new site design by 15 June, and the changeover should happen the following week.

I’m also hoping to organise an event when ‘engage‘ users can meet and ask questions and share tips. More details will be available on our ‘engage’ update page soon.

I hope everyone will like the new design and functionality, but of course if you have any questions, suggestions or objections please get in touch 🙂

Senior Content Officer, Digital Innovation Team (formerly College Web Team)

* ‘Archived’ sites

If a site hasn’t been updated in over a year it will be kept online and still be findable on the ‘engage’ front page, but given a category of ‘archived’ – I’ll list these sites on the ‘engage’ update page.

If you’re still an Admin/Editor/Author but don’t think you need access any more please email me and I can close your account: