There Are No Break Points in Your Web Strategy: Going Responsive Without Screwing Everything Up (UAD1)
We all know that responsive design is here to stay. We’ve watched that the percentage of mobile visitors climb every month, and it’s a fair bet that nobody at this conference needs to be convinced of the importance of making our sites responsive. But too often, when sites go responsive, they do so in a way that loses or changes their underlying web strategy: recruitment sites become news sites, calls to action go missing, emergency alerts are dropped on mobile devices, or desktop sites become burdensome and difficult to navigate. Making sites that deliver the same results at 320 and 990 pixels wide is exceedingly difficult. What goes where? What goes away on the phone? What expands or collapses? How do decisions made at the earliest stages of site planning influence what your users will eventually be seeing – and more importantly, doing -- on their phones? All of these are decisions that dramatically affect how users experience your site, what they see, and what they’ll ultimately do. This presentation will focus on strategies for creating a responsive experience, for new sites and redesigns, while maintaining your overall web objectives. Topics covered will include strategic approaches to managing common website components, such as homepage features, calls to action, navigation and menus, on small, medium, and large devices. While the range of options and device sizes may seem overwhelming and constantly shifting, best practices and common design patterns are emerging. This presentation will talk through these patterns, as well as the possible strategic benefits and drawbacks of each.
In many academic institutions, libraries set up and operate their own web shop with impunity. Adrift from the IT mothership, they develop into silos of custom content management systems, unrelated color palettes and makeshift technical solutions. Between them and campus administration lies the weary patron, confused by the uneasy and fraught user experience. But what happens when the library is called back home? Learn how a site-wide redesign instigated the reunification of campus/library websites, and what it took to ensure the relative sanity of all involved.
The University of Wisconsin Colleges has a unique organizational structure including central administration services and leadership, 13 physical campuses, 17 institution-wide academic departments and an online division, and various special programs. The UW Colleges marketing web team was tasked with redesigning these areas’ websites – which were in various states of age, functionality, usability and design (or lack thereof) – into standard templates and consistent branding. As a consequence of digging into the old sites in preparation for redesign, a lot of archaic (relative to web standards) and not-so-archaic material was uncovered that challenged the limitations of their templates. This session will describe how the team succeeded in most ways and fell short in some.
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ― Charles Darwin. Despite being creatures made of pixels, codes, and thought, websites are living entities that follow principles similar to the evolutionary principles that predict how life changes and adapts. Using concepts from biology and the natural sciences, Stevens will look at the evolution of the University of Florida Health web presence, a three year process that eventually affected over 500 academic sites, six hospitals, hundreds of medical clinics, and eventually an entire university redesign. You're not going to need a lab coat or safety goggles as Stevens investigates how many finches are needed to make a decent digital birdhouse, genetic engineering (how to take learned principles and splice them into new projects), order and understanding through Taxonomy, or punctuated equilibrium (and how to affect what comes next).
When Mount Holyoke College first moved its main website into Drupal, the goal was quick migration, not smart implementation, and the school did some decidedly un-Drupalish things. Two years down the road, the team used a major redesign as the opportunity to start figuring out how to make better use of its platform of choice. The catch was the team needed to upgrade in place rather than start over. In this talk, Proctor will share some lessons learned from the process of replacing the wings while the plane is in the air.
The new uOttawa.ca website went live in November of 2013 to the musical tweets and likes of students and for those who are passionate about creating a user-design experience. Not only was a new mobile responsive Drupal Web content management system put in place to replace the numerous in play, the entire content and purpose of the site was rethought according to a thorough analysis that focused on the needs of users first. Nichole McGill, Web Communications Director for the University of Ottawa, reveals what she learned in her multi-year odyssey to transform uOttawa.ca to make it mobile, ensure that all requirements met the unique bilingual needs of the largest English-French university in the world, all the while pushing the bar for university sites.
The content is the Experience: Lessons in Creating a Student-Centered Student Affairs Website (TIE9)
Students are busy. They are focused on the exam they have to write tomorrow or the paper due at the end of the month. So how do you create a stellar online experience that makes it easy for students to find and use the information they need, delight them while on your site and make them want to come back? The centralized student service offices at UBC (The University of British Columbia) decided to tackle this challenge by using key elements of the student experience, rather than organizational structure, in the redesign of their website, students.ubc.ca. This session will discuss the overhaul of students.ubc.ca, a project initiated by the need to replace the CMS being used to manage the site but really about creating a user-centered student affairs website designed around the needs and preferences of current students, not the business owners. The redesign and redevelopment of students.ubc.ca involved the migration of approximately 12,000 pages of content from 12 distinct microsites into one meaningful, connected and comprehensive site. The content was split into flexible components that can be published in any location on any of the roughly 700 new dynamic site pages. Learn how the redesign project was designed to ensure the new and improved site delivered on the site goals to make it easy for students to find the information they’re looking for when visiting the site, anticipate the information needs of students as they progress through their studies and experience at UBC, delight students with content and functionality that surpasses what they came to the site for and deliver an intuitive and seamless experience designed around the student experience that helps students act on the information and the invitation to participate. The presenters will provide a tour of the redesigned site, including before and after, highlighting the site structure, visual design and structured content strategy.