3/26/15 Meeting

In attendance: Katherine Stosch, student Ian Spangler, student Sabia Prescott, student Kelly Eury, admissions Melissa Yakabouski, admissions Teresa Coffman, college of education Megan Petter, student affairs Shelley Keith, digital communications Pam Lowery, hr/digital communications Andrew Dolby, college of arts & sciences Amy Alexander, university relations Martha Burtis, division of teaching & learning with technology Katherine Purdue, UMW libraries Interns presented on projects they've been working on this semester: Ian Spangler talked about his epic journey through Google Maps. There’s a post in Eagle Eye from earlier this year about his experience up to that point, and now there’s an update with a link to the presentation from yesterday. Here’s a blog post about Katherine’s work with TreeJack. Included is a link to the presentation she gave yesterday. As promised, here’s the link to the new admissions user test. Sabia has done … [Read more...]

9/25/14 Meeting

Notes taken by Amy Alexander. Website downtime discussed 19 hrs (96%) brought in a consultant Instability kept changing shape – 3 solid weeks of 24/7 coverage from Hall and Shelley’s team Consultant was very impressed with functionality of team Vast improvement and stability Has brought attention to the critical nature of the website, and the need for more resources and infrastructure to support site Looking to move site to dedicated server farm ; offsite Gives us dedicated 24/7 team for way better support Having it offsite also ensures that any on-campus emergencies will be supported on a larger scale Also means DNS change Planning sustainable re-architecture This is an opportunity to move forward Working on improving training and support Working to update Wordpress 101 content Make it more organized Reformat resources that are already out there Speak to a more “beginner” audience Will all go on digital communications … [Read more...]

From Web Services to Digital Communications: Year 1

The organization web maturity model demonstrates the shift from tools-first to goals-first management of an organizations web presence.

In April of 2013, I first contemplated picking up my entire life and moving across the country for an opportunity to genuinely make a difference in the direction and outcomes of web strategies at a small, public, liberal arts school on the East Coast.  Now, a year after first stepping into my office at UMW for the first time, I'm in a position to assess the past 12 months, during which I helped transition the UMW web site from a service model to a strategic resource. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but here are some of my first-year observations: We have resources Incredibly engaged faculty & staff - It's an absolute pleasure to work with site managers and content contributors who genuinely care about the success of not only their programs or departments, but also the institution as a whole. You guys want to do it better and smarter, and for that I'm truly thankful. I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together. Better data collection - UMW has consistently … [Read more...]

Bringing forth the toolbar

The Helpful Links mega menu before the update.

I've been known to say that "helpful links" is geek for "we don't know what to do with this stuff." It's the web equivalent of a junk drawer, or, more accurately, a junk room. A poorly organized garage catch-all full of all kinds of actually great things that really could be somewhere else if we took the time to arrange the living space more intentionally. You get the point. One of the first things we did when I came on board was to improve the way we collect user data. I wanted to know where users were clicking, since we had so many option to get them through the site. What were they actually using, and did we really need the catch-all after all? Let me name off the sections of this screen. It'll matter when I show you the data. The wall of links here is called “Resource Links”, and the dark blue toolbar is labeled “Online Tools”. “Customize your background” is a neat trick, but has zero strategic value and data shows essentially zero use. It was a lot of code and … [Read more...]

Going Mobile – What we did and why it matters

Comparison of the College of Business screens

As announced in EagleEye on April 10, we've made a huge change to how the UMW site is viewed on mobile devices. Here we'll talk about the differences and decision making that went into this rollout. This display shows the College of Business homepage on a computer, using the old mobile interface, and with the new mobile responsive theme. One of the major problems with the old mobile interface was the site layout had to be configured very specifically to get the components to display in the mobile view at all. With content managers making changes all the time, we couldn’t guarantee their changes wouldn’t break the mobile view. The new mobile responsive theme uses existing content regardless of changes content managers make to the site. Here’s the University homepage on a computer, on the old mobile interface, and on the new mobile responsive theme. The old mobile interface provided icons of the top things we thought users would want to be able to do, but it made it almost … [Read more...]

3/27/14 Meeting

Attendees: Jack Hylan, Kelly Eury, Megan Petter, Shelley Keith, Pam Lowery, Brynn Boyer, Lou Martinette, Curtiss Grymala, Andrew Dolby, Mark Thaden, Amy Alexander, Anna Billingsley, Martha Burtis Feedback on site evaluation tool draft: Might be too technical for some of the web content managers (PL) Biology faculty members thought the changes were effective based on the tool (AD) Guidelines are useful, but maybe simplistic? Hard to define target audience in a lot of cases. Perhaps a more explanatory tutorial approach/best practices document is the way to go instead of a rubric. Use this as an opportunity to educate users. (MB) Mobile theme feedback: Soft launch planned 3/31 Cabinet presentation 4/2 Eagle Eye announcement to follow Homepage changes coming: "Helpful Links" section is disappearing; a new menu bar will take its place at the top of the homepage Governance suite launch: Launched today and we have received our first report -- in 6,000 pages, we 243 broken … [Read more...]

2/27/14 Meeting

Web Advisory Council Meeting - 2/27/14 Attendees: Pam Lowery, Shelley Keith, Brynn Boyer, Jack Hylan, Curtiss Grymala, Amy Alexander, Martha Burtis, Anna Billingsley, Andrew Dolby, AJ Newell, Lou Martinette Share what we like and dislike about the website: AD: like the stories about students & alumni; search box works well; dislike the organization of the site (where to go for students, faculty, etc.) JH: like the helpful links section (bar); need more clarify for students; problem navigating among various departments AA: love the user generated content; dislike the lack of continuity across the websites PL: like the personal stories; dislike the misspellings, plethora of content MB: like that we are in place where have lots of opportunities; frustrated that we aren't doing enough (confused by options, not enough user support); need to capitalize on UMW Blogs content SK: we need better training for our 250+ content contributors News & Updates from Digital … [Read more...]

Inaugural Meeting

Web Advisory Council Meeting - January 30, 2014 @ 3p.m. Attendees: Shelley Keith, Curtiss Grymala, Pam Lowery, Mark Thaden, Kelly Eury, Brynn Boyer, Amy Alexander Not in attendance: Anna Billingsley, Louis Martinette, Martha Burtis, George Meadows, Andrew Dolby Shelley gave an overview of the current state of the web at UMW: a lot of things are working well (example: low homepage bounce rate; increased user tracking; a mobile friendly and goal driven microsite for admissions), BUT we have some work to do site traffic is up, BUT the overall bounce rate is too high, too many broken links and errors, accessibility violations we need consistent training and support for content contributors & site managers we need a consistent content strategy that can increase ROI, improve SEO, and improve user experience Council will be the eyes and the ears for the web team AND campus ambassadors facilitating 2-way communication between campus and the web team. Shelley and Amy showed … [Read more...]

Defining “effective”

The organization web maturity model demonstrates the shift from tools-first to goals-first management of an organizations web presence.

Our primary function is to provide an effective web presence for the University. It’s essentially our mission statement. As I’ve settled into my new role I’ve realized the meaning of “effective” has evolved since the creation of University Relations. The web office was previously focused on ensuring the underlying technology and tools were functional…the CMS rolled out and thoroughly implemented, servers operational, plugins installed, errors addressed, support provided. Those things are still important, but with the institution wide focus on enrollment and identity management, “effective” now goes a great deal further than simply “operational”. I created this web maturity model to demonstrate the state of an institutional website (or portions thereof) from the early phase of “we need a website because they exist and other organizations are doing it” through “perhaps we should consider the impact of this tool on our audience and bottom line” to “the website is a strategic resource … [Read more...]