UX Scotland Conference 2016 – Report

I attended the UX Scotland Conference 2016 with a view to discovering the latest trends and thinking in the constant evolution of design interfaces.

The best aspect of the conference was the overall theme of practical and applicable solutions to improve our user experience. Indeed, most of the sessions during the second day provided not only a lot of food for thought and inspiration but also some immediately actionable tips.

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New staff profiles content type launched!

One of the recent addition to the main University website content management system (EdWeb) is a new content type – staff profile. The CAHSS Web team has worked on this in close collaboration with Information Services .

Staff profle imageHow did the new staff profile come to the world?

Around the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and beyond, throughout the University, each and every School had a slightly different way of presenting staff profiles Often, staff profiles used different systems depending on the University unit. The key goal was to standardise this but in a way that allowed flexibility and variation.

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Discover the ECA Advent Calendar 2015

The ECA Advent Calendar 2015 takes up where the 2014 calendar left things.

Discover the ECA Advent Calendar 2015

This year’s calendar includes offerings from students at Edinburgh College of Art, in varied programmes such as Animation, Music, Film & TV, and Textiles.

Like in 2014, there is a wide variety of content, and lots of humour and talent on display.

ECA ADvent Calendar screenshot

http://www.advent-calendar.eca.ed.ac.uk/2015/

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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Waiter, there’s a Baboon in my Drupal! Or how to use Drush in Windows with Babun to manage your Drupal site

I was struggling to find a robust solution to install and run Drupal’s Drush in Windows with MySQL and rsync all playing along nicely.

I run virtual machines to get around this for the larger, more sophisticated sites, but it’s nice to be able to fire up Uniform Server (my preferred wamp stack) now and again and just run things locally. I have tried a  lot of solutions, but the cleanest so far has been to make use of Babun, a rather cool package developed by Tom Bujok and Lukasz Pielak.

Drush command being run on the Babun shell

Babun (pronounced Baboon) is a pre-configured Cygwin with a lot of addons and lot’s of other bells and whistles including a zsh/bash shell and Git. You can download and install the software via:

Installation

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Nursing Studies Highlights

The Summer edition of Nursing Studies Highlights is now available.

Created using Adobe InDesign the Nursing Highlights newsletter contains current news and articles from the Nursing Studies department at the School of Health and Social Science. These will be of importance to current nursing studies students, alumni and staff but there are also stories of wider public interest such as the feature on “Ebola nursing in Sierra Leone” by Magda James and latest research in dementia care in an article by Professor Charlotte Clarke.

ECA Advent Calendar 2014

A fun Drupal site we’ve built recently was the ECA Advent Calendar 2014 for Edinburgh College of Art.

What’s in the ECA Advent Calendar 2014?

Behind each randomised door is a short video. All videos are the creative work of students on the BA (Honours) Animation programme.

The calendar grid is responsive. In other words, it adapts to different widths of device by resizing and re-stacking (24 is a handy number, being divisible by 4, 3 and 2).

There’s a lot of variety to the animations: some are very funny, some a little melancholy, and all are very creative. It’s great fun to check each morning.

ECA Animation Advent Calendar

http://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/advent-calendar (external link)

P.S. If you don’t feel like clicking through all the doors, you can get the elves to do it for you.
http://www.advent-calendar.eca.ed.ac.uk/?magic-elves=awake (external link)
(note: videos won’t autoplay on iPad)

After the success of the ECA Advent Calendar 2014, Edinburgh College of Art commissioned a new edition in 2015!

Discover the ECA Advent Calendar 2015

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.

 

Integrating a Drupal 7 website with the University’s EASE authentication service

ease1In the web team we recently took over the technical maintenance and development of the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) website. Part of this development work involved integrating the University’s standard authentication service (EASE) with the Content Management System (CMS) used by the ECA website, Drupal 7.

Although the Drupal CMS has been used for many years throughout the University, it has not been widely used with EASE. The only exceptions that I am aware of are work I did myself in collaboration with Colin Higgs on the School of Engineering website to implement EASE authentication on a Drupal 6 plaftform in 2010, and which has subsequently been updated to Drupal 7 by Billy Rosendale, and http://www.projects.ed.ac.uk, built using Drupal 6. The University Website Programme (UWP) are currently developing Drupal 7 for use as the main University CMS and part of this development process is support for EASE authentication – and this EASE integration work was used by the web team as a model for the ECA website.

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