Web Notes; January 2018

Web Notes; January 29, 2018

Please take a moment to review this quick report on the status of Eastern’s website project.  As a reminder, the objectives of the project are:

  • Focus on Prospective Students
  • Interactive content
  • Mobile First strategy
  • Easy to navigate
  • Roll out by fall 2018

Our internal project team is working diligently to take the design options that our design contractor — Beacon Technologies — has developed, and turn them into actual page layouts for major University pages (i.e. Majors, Hands-on Learning, Faculty/Staff, etc.)  These layouts will be vetted in the next 4-5 weeks with appropriate internal constituencies before being deployed with actual content into the new Cascade Content Management System (CMS).

As this work is being done, academic and administrative departments have been busy reviewing their websites to confirm what pages they want to migrate to the new website; what pages don’t migrate but should be archived in some way; and what pages can be deleted.

Various University staff are also developing content for the new website — some brand-new, and some to add to existing content — including videos, infographics, photographs, charts, and other content elements.

New features planned for the new website include:

  • A searchable faculty/staff directory that will allow individual faculty to build their own personal webpage, complete with biographies, research interests, courses taught, etc.
  • A live social media feed on the home page.
  • An emergency banner that will appear on the top of the homepage during weather alerts and other campus emergencies.
  • A searchable news function.
  • RSS feeds on the home page from the news and events pages; these feeds can also easily appear on other pages across the website.
  • Other options being developed include blogs, photo galleries, and more.

In March, Hannon Hill, licensor of the Cascade CMS, will develop prototype pages in Cascade using the designs developed by Beacon Technologies.  These prototypes will be used by Eastern design staff to replicate across page types. For instance, we will have a unique webpage style that will be replicated across 40 different majors. Another style will be used to present our 65 minors, and a similar approach will be used for student clubs and other modular content.

In April, Hannon Hill will visit campus for two days to train Eastern staff in the University Relations, Institutional Advancement, and Information Technology departments to use Cascade.  Following this training, staff members will begin to build out the new Eastern website, using the prototypes Hannon Hill will deploy in Cascade. (At some point when it is time, we will also provide training to departmental website maintainers so that they can continue to update their own pages/content. As noted previously, we envision this process will be much easier for everyone.

University staff will also be working with Hannon Hill to use their automated migration tool, as well as contracting for manual migration services, to migrate pages on the existing website that have been targeted to move forward. 

The migration of content, the build-out of new pages, user testing, and other tasks are large elements of a very big project, one Eastern has not attempted on this scale in the past. While we are confident in the process being used, we cannot offer a firm “launch date” at this time.  As we get more into the final stages of the project, we hope to have a clearer idea of when the new website is ready to be shared with the world. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and for the work you have been doing on the project as a member of the Eastern team.