Thursday, 29 March 2012

An index of sustainability: ISURV

This project will investigate the creation of a sustainability index which will be the product of three variables: unique visitors, their return rate and the number of page requests per visit.
  • Unique visitors: this is related to a number of factors, such as the uniqueness of the content, the longevity of the site, how it is promoted, and access fees.
  • Rate of repeat visits: a measure of how suited the site is to our visitors' needs, aka loyalty
  • Page views per Visit ('stickiness')
Giving: Index of Sustainability = U × R × V

Take the example of a cafe: it can increase its business by getting more people through the doors (U), increasing the amount its customers spend each time (V), and improving the frequency with which each customer comes back (R).

In terms of resource allocation, the cafe has to decide which of these factors it could invest money in to bring it the biggest benefit; advertising to bring more people in (U), changing the product range or ambiance to increase money spent per visit (V), or the more diffuse aspects of loyalty (R) which could include more complicated activities such as taste tests.

This project will mainly focus on improving user experience (V), and refining the effectiveness of ISURV together with a set of orthogonal indicators which can be used to compare the functional performance of sub-site areas, a whole site, or even between separate sites. It will amend discrete areas of content, leaving whole other areas untouched to allow contrast, and communicate its results in a non-specialised language.

Our first set of figures will be published in April 2012.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

BHO wins new funding

We are pleased to announce that British History Online has been awarded funding by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) under strand B, 'Enhancing the Sustainability of Digital Collections', of the 16/11 Digital Infrastructure call.

Entitled 'Developing a sustainability index using British History Online (ISURV)', this project will investigate the creation of a sustainability index which can be used to compare the performance of functionality of sub-site areas, a whole site, or even between separate sites.

Its core objectives include:
  • giving senior managers a richer set of performance indicators and attempting to better communicate the value of digital products upwards
  • use the results to promote service excellence across the field of digital humanities
  • large scale user engagement
  • encourage (challenge?) historians to adopt new tools and techniques for navigating and locating content
  • attempt to communicate to both audiences, i.e. senior managers and users, to create a positive environment for the product
You can keep up to date with the project, and learn how to take part, by following this blog.