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Changes to JISC website – phase 1

All been very quiet on the blogging front for a while. That’s because we’ve had our noses to the grindstone doing this…

We’ve made some changes to the JISC website that went live today. This is an evolution of the existing site, not a massive revamp, and is phase 1 of a series of changes we are planning over the coming months.

First, you will notice a somewhat redesigned home page with a centrepiece ‘hero slot’ carousel (good old jQuery), highlighting the latest/best/most interesting/most notable offerings from JISC at the moment. Apologies to users of the previous ‘customise your homepage’ feature – this has been removed owing to low take up and poor user testing results. The topic cloud has also disappeared (it wasn’t a proper tag cloud or a good topic list) and now appears in the footer of every page, which we hope is more usable and useful.

There are two new sections on the website; Supporting Your Institution and a Blog.

The Supporting Your Institution section is aimed at senior managers in institutions with responsibility for strategy (though it of course not exclusive and we hope it will interest other users). We have attempted to identify some of the principal issues faced by institutions and provided strategic ‘cribsheets’ that give support and advice and link through to JISC resources that can help.

We used Disqus to provide the commenting feature on the cribsheets. Obviously haven’t used it ‘in anger’ yet but it seems a well featured and usable product.

We have also introduced a JISC blog. This is hardly revolutionary and individual JISC staff have been active bloggers for years, but it became apparent during the user research that informed these developments that a corporate-level blog would be a valuable addition to the website . JISC’s work is so wide and deep, it can be difficult for those not familiar or regularly involved with the organisation to get a sense of the whole. We hope the blog will address this by providing a narrative on what we do and think, stimulate discussion and provide access points for those who want to explore further.

The blog runs on WordPress. No other contender really. I am pleased though with how it looks so seamlessly integrated with the rest of the site, given there has been no backend integration between WordPress and our website CMS, Sitecore. The chaps at Eduserv have done a very good job on this.

As I said, this is a multi-phase project and this is phase 1. If you want a sneaky peek at how it will look when it’s all finished, there is a prototype.

These changes are the outcomes from the user evaluation and needs projects we have run over the last year. Thanks to all those who took part.

As ever, your feedback very welcome. Please leave below, email it to or tag it #jiscweb so we can find it.

And do let us know if you spot any bugs.

By Ben Whitehouse

I'm head of web at Jisc. My team manages and other web services. I'm responsible for ensuring the overall user experience of the Jisc web estate is simple, clear and consistent

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