News and press

Wednesday, 18th November 2009

University of Leeds 'empowers' users and asserts global identity with Jadu CMS

The University of Leeds intends to be within the top fifty universities world-wide by 2015. This has had major implications for the University's communication strategy with external and internal users. Jadu CMS has provided a 'building block' towards realising this strategy and delivering effective communication.

The web communications channel is critical to the University of Leeds' reputation both in the UK and internationally. Students use the web as their main research tool in selecting where to study.  Student stakeholders (parents) are being increasingly selective in their investment looking at areas such as the institutions teaching and research profile. Effective web communication is therefore a critical stepping stone for the University in securing its strategic objectives.

University Head of Communications, Helen Priestley said: "Our web presence is a critical element of our external communications. The CMS is allowing us to bring in new ways of working on our website; broaden user participation and formalise responsibilities. Typically central services, including communications, had held ownership of content management and updating but this needed to change to ensure that internal users (faculties and schools) could do this."

The launch of the University of Leeds' corporate web site is the third full Jadu CMS site to be implemented within the university, with sites developed for the Library and IT Services. The University of Leeds had selected Jadu as their CMS partner because the technology enabled the University of Leeds to empower its user base to take ownership of content and assert the identity of the institution. Using Jadu CMS, gives the University the capability to respond quickly to issues and work more flexibly.

The University's corporate site redesign has been based on extensive research using surveys and user focus groups. It also drew on feedback from key identified audiences, including A Level students, potential new staff, undergraduates and postgraduates (both international and home based), also business and enterprise and alumni. This enabled the development of a detailed specification including mock-ups, wireframes of all the major landing pages, structure and layout. All installation and CMS configuration was carried out by the University web team.

"It's great to see the control of the web content back in the hands of owners and editors. The focus is now where it should be - with a user friendly system and interface, pages and content can be added and updated so quickly and simply; which makes for a more accurate and current site." said Caitlin Cunningham of the University IT Service's web team.

Richard Jones, University IT Service's web team said "We have invested in developing a number of extensions using a mixture of our own resources and those of Jadu. We commissioned Jadu to develop the profiles module that allows profiles to be created as content items and used across our site. Our major development was the Coursefinder module that is our course catalogue covering undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research opportunities. The flexibility Jadu has given, compared to other web content management systems, has been a critical feature for us."

Next steps

The implementation of the University's corporate site is a significant step towards making Jadu available to the nine faculties and other non-academic service centres as a service.

"For us the web is essential and it's about asserting your identity. Reaction to the new site has been largely positive and we are already looking to new developments. Ownership is a critical success factor - we need to do things ourselves, innovate, develop and lead technology." says Matthew Hoskins, University IT Service's web team.

"Leeds has delivered an outstanding corporate website using Jadu CMS. This has been delivered entirely by in-house resources and demonstrates the benefits of an enterprise wide CMS, particularly when it is simple to use and implement. A sophisticated Course Finder application, integrated with back office systems, is also a key contributor to making intelligent data available to users. We can't wait to see how Leeds will use web services to enable users to create applications and 'mashups' around their own content." says Suraj Kika, CEO of Jadu Ltd.

About the University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK with more than 30,000 students from 130 countries. With a turnover approaching £450m, Leeds is one of the top ten research universities in the UK, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities.

See also: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/about