Department: Careers & Enterprise
A landing page was created to
- showcase and raise awareness of the range of support and resources available through Careers & Enterprise
- improve accessibility and the user experience by providing a single point of access to unite materials previously held in different locations.
Background and Context
Careers & Enterprise offers a range of support and resources, aimed to meet the careers needs and learning styles of our diverse client base – from first year undergraduates to early career researchers; those who want to start a business, work abroad, have a set career path in mind or have no idea what to do next. As part of the Careers Group, University of London a number of our systems, such as our vacancies portal JobOnline, are hosted by the central University of London. Additionally resources that we subscribe to such as our online interview simulator, online practice psychometric test system and working abroad information portal are also hosted by various third party providers. This resulted in students being directed to a number of different websites (QMUL and externally hosted), where different log-in details were required. This was confusing for students, difficult to promote succinctly in marketing materials, and an inefficient way of organising our resources.
We were looking for a platform to consolidate this information in an engaging and user friendly manner, that would also serve to increase awareness of our other services and signpost students to other related useful information, such as our various social media accounts.
Phase 1: Involved identifying popular content and resources that student feedback had shown were harder to locate in current website structure. As the content was in existence already, this project was about curating rather than creating the information. Decisions were made on how to display the content ensuring there were simple ‘needs-based’ calls to action.
Incorporating a mix of the different box types available for constructing a landing page (text based, photo based and using RSS feeds), was used to make the page more interesting and varied in both content type and visual style. As QMPlus is already linked with ID check, material that needs be password protected can be added without students needing to log-in again. This again improves the user experience of the site and prevents some of the log-in queries the department receives form students. Looking at existing landing pages from other departments provided inspiration and a context around which to base our decisions about what to include and how.
Phase 2: An additional row of boxes will be added to the landing page to accommodate new resources. The team will develop two new QMplus modules for careers information relating to International Students and also to PhDs and Early Career Researchers. Here information sheets, resource lists, presentations and videos can be added, making use of the functionality within QMPlus, which students are already familiar with and already use frequently. The final new box will be used as a link to our video portal, where short films will be added following the work of the e-learning production scheme project, utilising the added functionality provided by QMplus Media. We had also purchased the licence to an assessment centre DVD, which we had been unable to put online until the QMplus Media was introduced.
Utilising feeds for existing social media channels, as well as our events listing page, meant the landing page had large amount of dynamic content which would refresh the page and provide updated information without having to update the page itself. This meant there was little ongoing maintenance required, beyond the development of new modules intended for the second phase of the project.
The careers icon was featured on the QMPlus homepage, which directed traffic to the careers landing page. Reciprocal links were added from any existing careers pages within schools to integrate it with these modules and again drive traffic to the page. Through establishing a presence on QMPlus, it is hoped that students who had previously not engaged with the department will get exposure to the support available and be encouraged to make use of it. Further evaluative work can be done by tracking usage and behaviour to inform further developments and refinements.
Although the intended primary audience is students, the page can also be used by members of the team at meetings and external events to demonstrate the scope of the department’s provision. Having resources online means that there is additional job hunting, application and interview support for students who may not be able to attend an appointment on campus, or who prefer to access support from home.
Key points and advice for effective practice
- Consider the strengths of the system, such as the ability to use feeds and to display the information in a visual manner, to support and compliment current systems without duplicating information and effort.
- Think about the user journey – how the user will get to the information and what are they likely to know about you already?
- The functionality of the HTML behind the landing page was not always consistent. Trial and error (whilst keeping backup copies of the code), as well as patience and persistence were key elements of the development process.
- Consider mechanisms and responsibility for ongoing review, maintenance and development of the resource.
The page can be viewed at: http://qmplus.qmul.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5476