Web Notes, December 4, 2017

WebNotesGraphic

The development of our new website is well underway, with a number of project components happening simultaneously. Other project stages are happening sequentially.  What follows is a status summary of the major project components.

Template Design.

Beacon Technologies of Greensboro, NC, is our design vendor.  They are experts at designing for the Cascade CMS (content management system) we are licensing from Hannon Hill, Inc. Beacon is providing designs for (1) the home page; (2) landing pages; (3) index pages (e.g. directories like “majors,” “minors,” etc.); and (4) interior pages for our various departments.  The home page design focuses on prospective students, and has been vetted with groups of prospective students/parents, as well as well as current students, academic department chairs, SGA, and other internal groups (Student Affairs Leadership Team, Ad Hoc Budget Committee, Web Policy and Review Committee, etc.).  Beacon is now working on the landing page and interior page templates.

Migration Planning.

Eastern has approximately 5,000 existing webpages.  While many of those pages will “migrate” to the new website and Content Management System, some existing pages are obsolete — they are no longer active or linked from the homepage or other directories, but they exist on our servers.  Other pages are live but out-of-date.  The Office of University Relations is currently working with department heads to review a list of webpages for each department, so that we can cull out obsolete pages and determine what pages should be updated before migration.

HTML Development.

Beacon Technologies is also contracted to turn our new design into html coding.  Once built out, the templates will be ready to link to actual content in the Cascade CMS system.  The various templates that Beacon is creating for Eastern have significant flexibility.  Pages can be structured with multiple rows and columns, and each module can contain a variety of content (text, photos, videos, infographics, lists, menus (hyperlinks), social media feeds and more.  While such flexibility gives Eastern choices on “page type” design, it will be important to create a common look across similar pages (academic departments, majors, student services, etc.) while providing some level of customization for unique situations.  We are in the process of developing a series of common page types to meet the University’s various needs.

Cascade CMS Deployment.

Hannon Hill is contracted to build out our home page and other “top of site” pages on the new Eastern website.  After this initial deployment phase is completed, Hannon Hill will train a core of up to 12 Eastern web developers on our campus over a two-day period this coming spring.  This core group will then train department-level webmasters/content editors to ensure that, once the new website is fully deployed, department-level content can be easily maintained and updated.  Eastern’s web development staff will then take the templates designed by Beacon Technologies and create other new pages in keeping with the University’s goal to focus on the information needs of prospective students.  At the same time, we will begin migrating existing pages using Cascade’s automated migration tool and manual migration as needed.  When all that is done, we will go live.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, suggestions, or concerns.

Edward Osborn, Director of University Relations

osborne@easternct.edu, or 860.465.5043