Is anyone doing anything different with staff profiles?

This question came up last week and I couldn’t think of any examples off the top of my head. The formulaic approach followed by most universities is the headline name at the top, passport-style portrait floated right, address, biog (with slight variations on subheading titles) and publications list.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with consistency across the sector – the content meets the user’s expectations and is easy to pull together from an editing point of view. But it’s worth having a look around to see if anyone has tried anything different.

Here’s a few examples of innovation I found from looking through UK university websites:

A nice big image

Screenshot

Screengrab, http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/research-faculties-and-institutes/health-and-life-sciences/circl/lixian-jin.aspx, 10/09/14

De Montfort raise the stakes on the standard profile photo with these bold statements, up to 286px height in this example.

A really big image

Not to be outdone, here’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s template, with a 640px width image:

Screenshot of a staff profile on the Royal Central website

Screengrab, http://www.cssd.ac.uk/staff/dr-stephen-farrier-ba-ma-phd, 10/09/14

The biggest example I could find was from London Metropolitan University (it looks smaller here than Royal Central above, but only because that image has been cropped):

Screenshot of a staff profile on London Metropolitan website

Screengrab, http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/faculties/faculty-of-social-sciences-and-humanities/people/surnames-k-to-m/simon-kent/, 10/09/14

They also carry this image-centric approach through to the staff listings themselves which are presented as a sliding image carousel:

Screenshot of staff profile gallery

Screengrab, http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/faculties/faculty-of-social-sciences-and-humanities/, 10/09/14

Creative solutions from the art schools

Staff profile from Glasgow School of Art website

Screengrab, http://www.gsa.ac.uk/research/supervisors-plus-students/primary-supervisors/m/macdonald-alastair/, 10/09/14

Glasgow School of Art (above) push their profile picture further down the page and lead with a strong image from a related research project. Two related items linked from the right hand column are both image-led.

The Royal College of Art (below) also highlight research projects in the profile. In their case, they’ve chosen to put ‘Selected Work’ in their own sliding image gallery.

Screenshot of a staff profile on the Royal College of Art website

Screengrab, http://www.rca.ac.uk/more/staff/james-auger/, 10/09/14

Locations on a map

Heriot-Watt University have placed a google map at the foot of the profile, with pins displaying locations related to the publications and research projects listed on the page.

Screenshot of a google map on a Heriot-Watt staff profile

Screengrab, https://pureapps2.hw.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/edward-jones(9536d3f2-b6c7-4147-8092-de6c4387a301).html, 10/09/14

Strong layout and typography

Screenshot of a staff profile on the Manchester Metropolitan University website

Screengrab, http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/english/staff/profile/index.php?profile_id=215, 10/09/14

Manchester Metropolitan University’s profiles follow the general formula, but stood out from the crowd for their considered use of typography and layout.

Keyword tagging

Most of the examples on this page are innovations in design. That’s probably a result of my speed-skimming approach to this task. But I did notice the keyword tagging used by University of Stirling (below) which allowed you to easily find other profiles related to similar research.

Keyword tagging on a University of Stirling staff profile

Screengrab, http://rms.stir.ac.uk/converis-stirling/person/11111, 10/09/14

Save this page

Finally, a small message and empty heart symbol on a Middlesex University profile invites you to ‘Save this page’, adding it to a list of pages that you’ve saved. This functionality seems to be available throughout their website.

Screenshot showing 'Save this page' functionality on Middlesex University webpage

Screengrab, http://www.mdx.ac.uk/about-us/our-people/staff-directory/jones-richard, 10/09/14

Billy

Billy

Web Manager for the College of Arts and Law at the University of Birmingham.

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