I heard there will be some major changes to the campus web pages. What is changing?
The www.uwec.edu website is being redesigned to provide more effective information to our targeted audiences and to make the web pages themselves easier to access on newer digital equipment, such as tablets and smartphones. "Responsive Design" is a term used to describe the process we are implementing to adjust to various sizes of screens accessing a web page.
During the refresh process, extensive clean-up will be performed on redirects and outdated web pages. Our goal is to improve searching capabilities both within the website and to the public, as we provide relevant, engaging content at the right times, to the right users.
Why is the change happening?
The ever-changing nature of the Internet has offered us new opportunities for growth, providing people many more ways of accessing information online. We need to keep our website in a format that is useful and reflects well on our university.
Will we lose our department's web pages?
Redesign of department sites will be a collaborative process. No information deemed important for departments will be taken away or removed. However, pages will likely be refreshed with the cohesive branding and redesigned to work with responsive design. We'll work with you to help deliver content to the right people at the right times (and in the right places).
Does this mean we'll have new web software? Is CommonSpot going away?
CommonSpot is still being used to support our university website for this redesign. CommonSpot relies on various templates and elements to provide the page formats we now see. Those templates and elements will be recreated to provide us with responsive design capabilities and our new branding. As with all software, long term plans are always evolving, but a major software change will not happen with this redesign. We are utilizing our current software in moving towards a distributed, dashboard-based model focused on improving the user experience for our publishers. (Simply stated, we're hoping to create options where you may be able to update content on multiple pages simply by "filling in the blanks", providing information without having to worry about strict formatting).
Do I have to move everything myself?
Nope! We have a cross-functional team of staff and students from the Integrated Marketing Communications and LTS areas who will assist web publishers with the planning and migration process. Most of the initial migration will be done for you. This one-time service will include developing new web pages, copying all files and folders to their new location, and working with you to create new content to fill gaps.
Fantastic! So I won't have to learn anything new or work with those pages ever again, right?
Not exactly. You'll want to learn how to plan pages within the new design and you'll want to learn how to use the new templates so you'll be able to request or make changes as needed. We're designing the new templates and some delivered elements to make it a bit easier for you to provide information on pages. Some of the top level pages will be supported by the Integrated Marketing and Communications area, but many of your pages will continue to be supported by your department or unit.
What is the timeline for these changes?
The revised target for having our top-level web pages and some pilot department sites ready is January 2015. After that, we'll be steadily working with other departments to get their sites into the new, branded format with responsive design. We're hoping to do this within the following 18 months, depending on staffing and technical variables. In the meantime, we'll make sure there is a way for non-updated departments to have their websites accessed. Many of the current CommonSpot pages may see subtle design improvements automatically based on updates to the current templates.
What should I do in the meantime?
We'll be contacting site owners over the coming months. From there, a plan will be laid out that includes a migration timeline and go-live date. We encourage you to start thinking about your audiences and the major messages you want to deliver. Think about what makes your area distinct, what prospective students, parents, community members, and others need to know. We will help you strategically place this content on your pages as well as other relevant pages of the university website.
Other questions or feedback?
If you have other questions or concerns, please contact Tyler Schroeder, University Web Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.