Plot Chosen. The Courses area.
View the category Guerrilla Gardening for the full story
It’s a high traffic part of the site presenting probably the most important pre-application content we have.Â Over the years it’s had gradual improvements, most notably a modified mooTools accordion feature to accommodate the various Course Types in easily identified compartments which open and close with a click.
The Course Page
The purpose of the page is – unsurprisingly – to effectively get a prospective applicant to the course or courses that interest them, it should be so usable, you don’t even know how you arrived at the course you came for.
When first loaded four compartments are visible, with Undergraduate courses, Postgraduate courses and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) all represented in a closed state.
By default the bottom box is open, providing a course search facility.
Opening any Course Type shows a clickable alphabet, clicking on the letter ‘A’ in Undergraduate takes you to the undergraduate ‘A’ Listings page.
While only one set of A-Z linksÂ is ever visible, there are three sets of Alphabetised links embedded in the page.
The Course Search does not filter by Course Type as the alphabetised links do. As it employs the website-wide search facility, it temporarily navigates the user away from the courses area to display search results within the usual search page,Â related side links, which makes return navigation problematic.
A typical use case involving searching for multiple courses might take a user across two pages before reaching the course page and the a single return step to the Courses Home.
The (Rough) Plan
Off the top of my head, I’d like to:
- remove the repeating elements presented on the page
- develop a dynamic single-view for all courses, with minimal clicks or page loads
- keep the search results within the Courses part of the site
- show links to courses from the outset, with no A-Z pages required
- Maintain the usual editing and update regime via the CMS
- Maintain accessibility
Whether or not it results in a deployable application doesn’t yet concern me so much as the steps necessary to achieve it – which in themselves will be useful later on.
As all the information resides in the Content Management System or its published pages, the first steps involve overcoming retrieval and formatting.
For starters I’ll need to:
- Adapt the current Courses area content into some sort of re-usable data source
- Use the data sources to populate an easy-to-use course selector
- Justify my own time by developing some ideas for re-using the data elsewhere