It finally happened. The website refresh, Phase 1 of a multi-year deep look into the UTC website, has officially closed out as a project. The refresh began in October 2018.
We chose a ‘refresh’ over ‘redesign’ as we wanted to address the following goals:
- Accessibility of the entire site.
- Elimination of old, outdated content and pages (also to reduce page count).
- Responsive design regardless of audience viewing on a smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Establish more consistency across the entire site to improve user experience.
- Focus attention on the external audiences of the site, specifically attracting and retaining students.
So, what did we really accomplish? In the course of the refresh, we reviewed more than 4,300 pages currently in OU Campus. For the data geeks in the readership, that translates into the following:
- We conducted 41 intake meetings (41 hours of at least two and sometimes four Communications and Marketing staff time not counting department participants’ time).
- Some intake meetings involved multiple offices within a college or department.
- Each intake meeting generated at least one more deeper dive meeting (roughly an additional 40 hours for Sarah Joyner plus department editorial participants).
- Outside of the intake meeting, the Communications and Marketing Web team spent additional hours (untracked) to prepare test versions of new pages and Google docs to manage the review process over a three-week period for each of the 41 offices/departments.
- Additional weekly hours were used for project management by yours truly (tracked and amounting to about 560 hours).
Initially, we had hoped to review every site within the UTC website but we allowed large departments and the colleges and schools to prioritize their sites so that we kept the project moving and addressed the most critical needs. Some sites are still being addressed that were not part of the prioritization. We are making every attempt to work with all the departments for refresh requests but our focus now is on the migration to Drupal so there may be some delays. We appreciate your understanding and patience while we shift gears.
Phase 2, the migration to Drupal, began last spring and is ramping up for the first 200 pages to go into production. The Web developers have been busy building out the environments in the Acquia Cloud, adding to the UTC Drupal codebase, creating workflows to move code from place to place, testing user experience and permissions, and preparing for demonstrations of content deployed in Drupal.
This will be another multi-month project but until we have those first 200 pages up and running, and we can start to see how long it actually takes to move a page from OU Campus to Drupal, the actual schedule is a bit up in the air. For the most part, the work will be on the Communications and Marketing team and you may only be marginally aware of what is happening behind the scenes.
Like any good cinematic trilogy, though, Phase 3 will be the much-anticipated Redesign. During those 41 intake meetings in the last year, many of you expressed your excitement over what is to come. Phase 3 will be where the real show begins!
Just like in the film world, though, we are only as good as our last movie. Our migration to Drupal is the sequel to our hugely popular, box-office extravaganza with a cast of thousands, known as the Website Refresh. So here’s looking at you, kid and stay tuned for coming attractions!
For more on the difference between a ‘refresh’ and a ‘redesign, visit the FX Blog on the topic Refresh vs Redesign.