The UKAPW has a huge amount of high quality content, including hundreds of actuarial papers and presentations. There are other essentials: courses, exam results, meetings, CPD etc. Nonetheless, the content is not shown to best effect, as this page explains.
The first type of content is relatively poorly written, while the second is hard to find.
The UKAPW sitemap lists 600-700 such pages – there may be more. In fact the sitemap lists only pages of this type; the sitemap contains no papers or presentations as far as I can see.
The 10 main areas are introduced by what the UKAPW calls a "landing page". These pages should form a useful doorway into the area, but they are generally poorly written, with becoming an actuary a possible exception.
Improving the landing page content would be relatively easy. We could involve a wider range of members of the profession in writing content, with users voting for the most helpful pages. Why not get collaborative a la Amazon and Wikipedia?
|High level area||Quality of landing page (including content)|
|Home||Appalling: this lacks both content and useful functionality. A pile of tricks and fluff.|
|Becoming an actuary||Acceptable; each column has a clear purpose and each link is relevant to the subject area.|
|Students||Little real content. More a dumping ground. Poor use of third column. Compared to the preceding "becoming an actuary" section this is rather sad:
|Members||Just about acceptable, but why not spend some space explaining what services are offered to members. Articulate how the Profession gives world class support to its members.|
Not enough thought has been put into this page:
|Practice areas||The first two columns are good, but again there is little of relevance in the third column. Related links would be an idea.|
|News||Why not explain the basis on which news stories have been selected? Or, better still, just drop the news section.|
|Events||How about some scope? What events are covered and who is this aimed at?
|Research and resources||Poor. Someone clicking on this section of the FIA website should be presented with clear material on what the main areas of actuarial research are, where they can be found, opportunities for volunteering etc. "Read more" links should be provided for the top articles in the middle column as per the bottom items and for consistency with the "news" pages. Finally the third column includes the publication of the month and "the European Actuary". Filler content. We can do better than this.|
|Regulation||Real content! The headings in the middle column rather get lost in the mass of text.|
|About us||This is a fair attempt to provide some real content and explanation. The third column is weak.|
Typically the UKAPW hosts and links to actuarial papers or presentations. There are thousands of these papers and the responsibility for quality lies with the authors. But accessing them through the UKAPW is not easy and bad links occur with disappointing frequency.
The main way of accessing such content is through the site search. None of it appears on the sitemap: this is fine, although see comment on "missing content" in [2.4].
The issue with bad links – both links which generate an error page and those which simply point to the wrong content – has been set out in some detail on our bad links page I have often notified the web team of bad links (and sitemap issues etc). I rarely get a response and the issues usually take months to put right – at best.
This process will confirm – probably quick quickly – that the 3-column layout is appropriate (or not). Are the columns being used as expected? Is this easy or artificial?
Another thing which might help is a website "style guide", focusing on tone, grammar, length of sentence etc. This would be especially helpful if the UKAPW high level content became more of a collaborative effort.
This is a big one. It is impossible to find collected papers for past actuarial conferences. Apparently these were on previous versions of the site but not on the current version. Madness. The SOA website is better at this: see our SOA case study