Letter to the Editor:
"More to new UCT website than meets the eye"

21 October 2002
New website is a disappointment
I would like to express my disappointment with the new-look UCT website. It is now too slow and has a very faint font (one can hardly read the letters on the left column heading). The links give source code instead of proper pages.

Please convey my message to the web developers for below-standard work. The previous site was far better, especially with the A–Z alphabet search, which made it easier to navigate. Now I have to spend too much time figuring out where I can start my navigation with no search option provided on the home page.

– Thembinkosi Ndlovu
Information Technology

Web Manager Joey Haasbroek replies:

The UCT site is the result of many months of hard work, consultation and planning. The University community was consulted at numerous stages, throughout the development of the site. The information architecture (content and functionality) was proposed and openly discussed on many occasions and the entire UCT community was invited to give feedback on the final development, for a period of five weeks, after which we made further changes. To give you an indication of the depth of consultation, we began the process of re-designing the website in February. The last faculty presentation took place at the end of August.

From the student perspective, we received quite a lot of feedback as well. During the planning, information architecture and programming stages, I had three meetings with representatives of the SRC. The general feedback, after all changes were made, was overwhelmingly positive.

There is more to the new UCT site than meets the eye. It is a database-driven site that allows all faculties, departments and users to upload information, real time. This necessarily takes up some processing time as users are guaranteed that new information is displayed virtually immediately, compared to the previous static site. We are, however, working on optimising the speed of the site and this will improve within the next few days (written on 16/10). I would urge you to get to know the new site and am sure that it will grow on you. The top quick navigation icons (including the SITEMAP – new improved A–Z list) makes it easy to get to any topic.

Please bear in mind that systems such as the student self service, class lists, heritage and exam results are systems external to the UCT website. These are sites that are developed by ACS and ICTS and are only linked to the SITEMAP of the UCT site.

If you browse the top "quick navigation" icons you will also find that there indeed is a SEARCH option, with improved capabilities compared to the previous site. There has also been some confusion regarding the staff and student search. The CONTACTS search in fact makes use of the same system that the old site did. We only gave it a new face.

UCT staff please note:
The designated Directory Managers in the various departments must update the data for the CONTACTS search. This search is not part of the UCT web development.

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