Challenges and Benefits of the New UMW Faculty and Staff Site

The new Faculty & Staff website went live 3/26/2014.

The IT move toward the end-of-life shut down of EagleNet presents an opportunity to produce a useful, comprehensive faculty and staff website. Digital Communications tasked an intern, Sabia Prescott, with identifying and organizing the content for the first iteration. The original source material, the content of EagleNet, was expanded on and enhanced by feedback from the Web Advisory Council and the President's Technology Advisory Council. The resulting site can now be seen at Users are asked to continue to provide feedback in an effort to improve user experience. Filled with various features on student accomplishments, campus happenings, and notable awards, the UMW homepage offers few immediate resources for university faculty and staff. Though it does exist, information for employees may take a while to find. This leads users either to use the search bar, which may not always produce the desired results, or spend lots of time shuffling through various … [Read more...]

User Testing Round One – What you’re telling us

Image shows navigation test outcomes for current navigation structure as of 3/26/15.

Results are in for the navigation survey sent out in January! Our goal is to make the UMW website’s navigation intuitive and functional. To accomplish that we are breaking down our navigation to its basic structure, surveying the Mary Washington community using software built specifically to test website navigation, and analyzing your responses to create a navigation tailored to you. The proposed new navigation tested incredibly well, overall, and we learned a lot about user experience and UMW audience expectations. Users (that's you) can now take the navigation survey for the admissions site. For the first round we had two surveys in which we asked randomly assigned participants to perform a series of five tasks. The set of tasks was identical across the two surveys, but the navigation used to perform those tasks differed. This allowed us to compare our current navigation to a new, proposed one, and see what worked and what absolutely did not work for both. It also allowed us to see … [Read more...]

Putting UMW On The Map, Part 2: Flash! And Other Fun Issues

Flash Gordon by Queen

For a while now, I have been trailed by Flash. Unfortunately, I don’t mean Flash Gordon. While updating UMW in Google Maps, I’ve received mapping advice from a Google Mapper who goes by the pseudonym of “Flash.” He monitors the Google public forums. Among other issues, these interactions have resulted in me having that one Queen song perpetually stuck in my head. “Flash! Whoa-oh… savior of the universe!” There’s some irony in this lyrical coincidence; namely, that my Flash is far from a “savior.” E.g., his most recent piece of advice to me was, “I'm sorry, but I don't believe there is a solution.” Argh—foiled again, Flash! My pitfalls, roadblocks and hurdles have been numerous. “Flash! Whoa-oh… there is no solution!” When working in Google Maps, I’ve learned that you need to have some flexibility. As I mentioned in my last post, Google Maps is a sort of cartographic Wikipedia. Anybody can make changes if they have a Google account, and those changes are peer reviewed … [Read more...]

Putting UMW On The Map: Goals, Results, and Challenges

It is no secret that UMW is growing. Each year, campus finds itself with exciting new buildings, innovative new programs, and in many cases, a combination of both. In order to keep up with the times, we must track these changes. There is no better platform in the current technological atmosphere than Google Maps; it is accessible, spatially accurate, and verified by active, current users on open-source software. With the integration of a Geographic Information System and the Google Map Editor Interface, UMW’s Office of Digital Communications, with the help of the Geography Department, has updated and restored UMW’s presence on Google Maps. This makes it easier and more accessible for students, parents, and faculty to get basic and necessary information about campus. Goals & Results We’ve all been there at one point or another—wandering blindly as we search for an elusive academic department, or trying to give mom and dad good walking directions from the Parking Deck to Seacobeck. … [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...]