New St Andrews Web team blog

University of St Andrews Web team blog

University of St Andrews Web team blog

At the mildly recent IWMW 2010 conference hosted at the University of Sheffield in July UK Web Focus Brian Kelly encouraged all Web teams to blog on a regular basis.

It was a long journey back to Scotland so Team St Andrews planned a revamp of our WordPress blog, decided on categories, a convention about how to use categories and tags, and a basic content strategy.

Can you tell that it was an information architect and a Web editor that was planning this?

When we got back into the office we moved from a self-hosted WordPress installation on the St Andrews domain to a free, hosted account on

Why move?

We realised that one of the main reasons that we’d not been using the self-hosted WordPress account was not because of time restrictions (which you might expect would be our number one excuse) but because of the hassle involved in upgrading WordPress each time an update is released.

While WordPress has had automatic upgrading available for a few versions, the server configuration that we have prevents the WordPress scripts from running the upgrade — lack of appropriate permissions, or something.

So we moved to, and in order to keep things consistent we chose the same name as our team Twitter account: @stawebteam. (We’re clever like that.)

What we’ve lost in complete control (the only thing we’re really missing is the plugin that makes code examples look really pretty) we gain in not having to maintain the software.

We can now simply concentrate on writing great content … hang on, isn’t that what we tell our TERMINALFOUR Site Manager users about our enterprise content management system?  So it must be true.

Gareth @ St Andrews



At St Andrews we’re about to begin a new portal / intranet project. Any comments, recommendations, insights, pitfalls, welcomed.

I’ve discovered that the Nielsen Norman Group have a two volume report (from November 2007) based on case studies of 56 intranets called “Intranet Information Architecture”.

There’s a summary on Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox site, and here’s a summary from the Nielsen Norman Group site:

Two-volume report on how to best structure your intranet, how to design its navigation system, and how to run the IA aspects of the design process.

Richly illustrated with 744 color screenshots of real intranets and their navigation design and other IA screen elements.

The report contains detailed profiles of 56 real-world intranets‘ information architecture as well as generalized analyses and best-practice recommendations derived from these many case studies. This report shows you how real intranets work – it’s not speculation or fantasy; it’s hard reality.

Our analysis encompassed intranets from a wide range of organizations in 12 countries:

  • 33 companies from a variety of industries, including financial services, utilities, and technology
  • 11 government agencies
  • 5 healthcare providers
  • 4 educational institutions
  • 3 non-profits

Of the organizations, 11 were small (500 employees or less), 30 were mid-sized (501-20,000 employees), and 15 were large (more than 20,000 employees).

Intranet Blog

Here’s also an interesting blog about intranets, imaginatively titled Intranet Blog, written by Toby Ward.