The University is currently in the process of redesigning its Web sites and migrating content for those sites into the Ingeniux content management system (CMS). With many of the top-level page and site redesigns complete, and with academic department sites serving a critical role in providing information about the University to prospective students, current students, and peer institutions, the University’s Web Advisory Committee has made the redesign and migration of academic department pages a top migration priority for the summer and fall.
The committee has the following goals for the redesign of the academic department sites:
- Improved consistency of navigation to allow visitors to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily
- Streamlined processes that allow critical information such as course and major descriptions and directory listings to feed directly from the central databases
- A better user experience for department Webmasters, requiring less technical skill and offering greater flexibility to convey information in a timely and appealing fashion
- Improved Web site usability and accessibility for users with disabilities
- Optimized Search Engine indexing
We realize that the summer might be a good time for some departments to redesign, and a less opportune one for others. As a preliminary step in this process, Web Services has created landing pages for each of W&L’s academic departments and programs. It is the committee’s goal to offer prospective students, current students, parents and visitors a common site architecture that will allow them to locate critical information about each department and program through a set of four common navigation links:
- Major/Program Description (from the University Catalog)
- Course Offerings (from the University Catalog)
- Department Directory
- Link to existing department/program page
Welcome text for the landing pages has been transferred directly from the existing department or program site homepage. Web Services is in the process of working with the Registrar’s Office to feed major and course data dynamically onto those pages. In the meantime, those links will go to pdfs from the printed catalog. Department Directory information is fed directly from the University’s central systems database.
The landing pages are currently available for internal review, and will be made public on August 27. Departments and program interested in reviewing and updating the content on their landing pages may do so this summer or wait until September, when the formal CMS training program begins.
As noted above, the current department Web sites will exist as a link off of these new landing pages for the foreseeable future. It is our hope, however, that every department will choose to migrate their content into the CMS during the summer or fall, and the Web Services team will work with departments on a first-come, first-served basis to determine the scope and timeline of each redesign project. We have already begun work with some academic departments on full site redesigns. If so, those redesigned sites will replace the department landing page once the redesign is complete.
Prior to a full redesign, there are several steps that departments can take to customize the content on these landing pages, including:
- changing of welcome text and contact information
- selection of a navigation color palette
- addition of departmental banner ads
- choice of photograph to be featured on the page.
To get a better sense of the customization options available to you with a full redesign, please visit one of the departmental sites already completed:
and in progress:
For more information about the redesign project, please see the academic Web migration timeline.