When you join the University of Newcastle you become more than just a member of the organization, you become part of the region’s community and the amazing lifestyle it offers. When you visit the University’s website, you get a great sense of the region’s DNA. Whether you’re a prospective student, current student, alumni, staff member, or part of the general community, you’ll be able to quickly find the information that’s relevant to you.
Ensuring the website delivers on the expectations of this broad audience is something that the Web Team is heavily focused on. They spend a lot of time engaging with their users which involves, as Mark Rogan the university’s Web Manager, puts it, “getting out there and talking to those audiences to find out what their needs and wants are, and then feeding that back into the work we deliver.”
A long and successful partnership
The University of Newcastle has been working with Squiz for over 15 years and has implemented a number of key strategic projects in that time. The relationship started when the University was looking for a new Content Management System (CMS) that was easy to use and would facilitate greater involvement from the University’s web publishing community. And that theme of ease of use has continued over multiple projects.
Key projects have included:
- Implementing the Squiz Search solution, Funnelback: Aggregating data from multiple sources into a single end-point for users.
- Developing Open Days online: A tailor-made platform to support the University’s biggest recruitment drive moving online due to COVID restrictions.
- Upgrading to Matrix 6: Creating a better user experience for the University’s online publishing community.
- Migrating to Squiz Cloud: Ensuring tech and data consolidation across the breadth of the Squiz tools and features used.
The process and benefits of upgrading to Matrix 6
According to Mark, the success of the upgrade to Matrix 6 can be attributed to the amount of planning and collaboration by the University and Squiz teams. He says, “We created detailed project plans, robust and clear test cases, and adopted well-defined roles and responsibilities. On the day of the migration itself, we had a clear run sheet detailing who was doing what and when. So it went really, really smoothly.”
Due to this planning, the teams were able to identify any potential areas of risk and, having initially installed Matrix 6 in a test environment, they were able to test the platform across common browsers and mobile devices for any design, functional and technical issues.
The web team is responsible for servicing and supporting the entire university, which includes over 400 trained web publishers. One of the key goals of the upgrade to Matrix 6 was to make life easier for these publishers.
Members of the broader web community now have access to more functionality and oversight of the backend of the website. They are more aware of and able to access a range of editing and publishing capabilities and, should something go wrong, there is much greater transparency and they are able to identify and resolve the issue much more quickly.
Mark says, “Feedback we’ve had from the community is that version 6 is very intuitive and is a lot easier for them to use.”
The catalyst for migrating to Squiz Cloud
As Ruby Checkley, Website Project Management Specialist, puts it, “Upgrading to the Squiz Cloud allowed us to consolidate everything with Squiz - the hosting, search, and the CMS. Moving to the cloud gave us access to more of the Squiz Digital Experience Platform, where we are able to utilize the broader range of tools and templates available to us via the Squiz marketplace.”
But aside from the ease and access a move to the cloud offered, the team is also benefiting from the support they have gained from the Squiz team that ensures they have less requirement for internal technical expertise.
A trusted partner
As Mark puts it, “Squiz really feels like a partner, rather than a supplier or vendor.”
As regular contributors to the University’s regular Web Forums with its community of web publishers, Squiz is a trusted partner to the Web Team and beyond.
As the web team looks to the future, they are planning how they can make more use of the Squiz Digital Experience Platform. Mark says, “We’re really excited about the future of the relationship and Squiz’s roadmap in general.”