New Student Web Editor – Roxie

Hi, my name is Roxie!

I’m a freshman from a northern suburb of Chicago, potentially studying Psychology, though I’m interested in Physics, Music, and Astronomy as well.  I am in band here at Woo, specifically Marching Band and the Wooster Symphony Orchestra. I play french horn, and in my spare time I enjoy reading, drinking tea, hiking, metal-smithing , doing henna, and watching movies with friends.

My favorite authors vary, but include Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, and Christopher Moore. I love music, and mostly listen to Classical, Alternative, Viking and Pirate Metal, and some Classic Rock. My favorite composers/bands include but are not limited to: Mozart, Penderecki, Shostakovich, Tchaikowsky, Cold War Kids, Dirty Projectors, Turisas, and Alestorm. My favorite color is red, my favorite tea is Lavender Dreams (from Teavana), my favorite pie alternates between Key Lime, Pumpkin, Banana Creme, and Apple; my favorite weather is late-fall,  my least favorite kind of gum is cinnamon, and I hope to at one point in my life conduct a full orchestra.

This past summer I volunteered at The Field Museum in Chicago, interned at a website, and worked in Chair Rental at Ravinia Festival. The best part about being so busy during the summer was that the time felt as if it were passing very quickly, and I felt like I got to leave for school fairly soon. The worst part was when I worked 17-hour days, which thankfully didn’t happen too often!

Let me know if you want to study together, or just want to talk!

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New Student Web Editor – Ragav!

Hey there, it’s Ragav here! I’m a sophomore at The College of Wooster but it’s my first year at Wooster because I am a transfer student from Huntsville, Alabama. I’m originally from India…born and brought up there. I love writing, programming, photography, traveling and table tennis among other things. Web designing is one of those other things. I got interested in serious programming when I was asked to create a computer program using C++ in High School. I broke my back writing a 1000 line program that allowed users to create password-protected personal accounts and write in a time-stamped personal journal. It was an extremely rewarding experience and I thoroughly enjoyed being the creator of something that was entirely my own. I spent a year in Alabama working for a scientist at the National Space Science and Technology Center doing experiments on Ozone in order to calibrate a global Ozone model using experiments. My job was to find patterns in the data using a program called IDL. I learned it on my own and absolutely enjoyed the science part of it.

To tell you a bit about my interest in the Web, I would have to tell you about my web ventures. In an ambitious attempt to revolutionize the Indian Education system I started a weekly online Journal in 2010 called ‘Stop Manufacturing Us!’, which happened to my first web venture and introduced me to the existing web technologies. It was a cool journal, till it lasted. It’s not so active anymore. Then I went ahead and created another website using vBulletin called ‘India Talks Here‘ , which I visioned to be a forum for people with interest in India. At the moment these sites are not as popular as I would want them to be, but they’re steps towards getting there. I recently started my own personal website where I put up some of my photography. I have some very interesting plans for websites that could gain global publicity through its unique functionality that I eventually want to execute. Let me know if you are interested in web development and want to partner up!

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Editor Tip: Use PDFs


The Portable Document Format (PDF) is a computer file format for publishing and distributing electronic documents (text, image, or multimedia) with the same layout, formatting, and font attributes as in the original. So, why is using PDFs on the web so important?

Anyone Can View It

To view a Word document, you must have proprietary software (Microsoft Office) installed on your computer. On the other hand, a PDF can be viewed with an Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free download, available on most platforms. PDFs are also capable of storing their own appearance (layout, fonts, content, color, etc.) within the document itself. This means that it may not have to rely on the fonts and settings that may or may not be installed on a user’s computer to display properly

Online Content

A PDF is useful for taking documents (newsletters, annual reports, applications, supporting information, etc.) and making them available on the internet. Not only can you secure your PDF so that it can only be read and not altered, you can also be sure that it will display correctly every time. In addition, PDFs can have a table of contents, bookmarks, intra-document hyperlinks, and are searchable. These features allow a PDF document to behave more like a web page.

Archiving

When compressed, PDF files can be very compact, so it is ideal for storage in our Sitecore Media Library. The file layout is retained through the compression and can be viewed on all platforms. Plus, PDF files are searchable, making archived documents and items much easier to find, categorize, and organize..

Fillable Form

Benefits to PDF forms:

  • PDF forms look just like their paper counterparts
  • PDF forms are easy to make
  • Electronic data collection saves time, money, and is more accurate for your records
  • Online forms are paperless (which is beneficial in aiding the college’s progress in becoming a sustainable campus!)

Mobile Content

Yes, there’s an app for that! No matter what operating system our users are running, they can easily download an Adobe Reader App for their cellphone for FREE.  Through its easy to use user interface, Adobe Reader provides our users with an efficient PDF viewing experience regardless of the device they are using.

There are a number of reasons to use PDFs on the web. The biggest reason being, that anyone can view them no matter what computer or operating system they are using. And, not only that, but creating a PDF is a quick and convenient way to put an existing document on your website. So, all-in-all it just makes sense to use PDFs when it comes to adding your documents to the web.

As always if you have any questions, concerns, or comments, just shoot me an email.

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New Student Web Editor

Hi, my name is Doug Code. I’m from Kalamazoo, Michigan and a freshman here in Wooster. As a prospective Computer Science/English major, I’m excited to work in the Web Communication department. I did a little programming in high school, and am looking forward to the opportunity to expand that knowledge. Everyone in the department has been great so far, and I  can’t wait to get to know team better and help contribute throughout the rest of the semester.

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Editor Tip: Less is More

Creating effective web content is only possible when editors adhere to the rule of scannability. A scannable website allows users to quickly find information through the use of  headers and lists, which help to organize information. Scannability is also improved by minimizing the amount of content on a site. With that said, editors should only publish what is necessary to provide adequate information. In addition to scannability, there are several other reasons for web editors to keep their content to a minimum.

Upkeep

The amount of time required to keep a website up-to-date increases as an editor adds more content.

Errors

The possibility for errors to exist or occur also increases, as attention to detail is sometimes sacrificed to work on additional content.

Outdated Content

A website should always contain current information. It is common for an editor to forget everything they must update if the information can be found in multiple locations. Also keep in mind that the amount of time outdated information exists on the web is dependent on the amount of upkeep an editor has created for themselves.

Broken Links

Broken links will occur with time, they cannot be prevented. The best thing an editor can do is remove or update broken links in a timely manner. When the amount of content increases, the number of links often increases, and routinely testing links becomes more and more difficult.

Incorrect Search Results

Search results are dependent on the number of times a word is found and linked to pages. For example: transcript. If the word “transcript” is linked to one page throughout the website, the search engine will know to rank that page as the first result when a user searches for “transcript.” In reality “transcript” is likely to be found on a few pages throughout an academic site, and the search engine can account for that. However, if “transcript” is linked several hundred times, to multiple pages, it would become difficult for the search engine to determine which page is the most useful.

User Frustration

A user comes to a website to find information. The amount of information a user has to “sift” through increases with the size of a website, making it more difficult for that user to find what they are looking for. Maintaining a simple navigational structure and keeping content to a minimum helps ensure that a website serves its purpose.

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Editor Tip: Receive Email Reminders to Update Content

Setting the date for a reminderThe reminder tool in Sitecore may not be flashy, but it will help ensure that your content is up to date. As you know, having outdated web content is worse than not having the content at all. Using reminders can automate a lot of the tracking and organization behind maintaining great web content.

The reminder tool is located under the Review tab in the Sitecore ribbon and can also be added to “My Toolbar.” Reminders can be cleared or edited at any time.

How does it work?

The reminder tool sends a message to an email address at a certain date/time. The tool works on a per-item basis (each page can send its own reminder) and requires the following:

  • Reminder Text
  • Date and Time (If no time is selected, Sitecore will default to 12:00AM)
  • Recipients (Email address, multiple can be entered)

What can I use this for?

Some of these are redundant, but it simply illustrates that this simple tool has many practical uses.

  • Remind yourself to update a page after a certain date
  • Send reminders to us to remove a page on a certain date
  • Ask somebody to send you updated content for a page that you edit for them
  • Ask faculty members to send you updated bio information for their bio on a set date
  • Confirm with a program/event organizer that their page is scheduled to be removed after the event and remind yourself/us to do so.
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Current Students 2.0

We are excited to announce the launch of our new Current Students page! We knew it was high time to give this page a face lift, so we started with what the students were saying. Based on a survey of student responses it was obvious the students wanted a more visually enticing page, an easier way to find what they needed and a better layout.

The old Current Students page was complied of a list of links in a box, as well as, more links on the right-hand side of the page. Some students liked the ease of access to all the links they needed, but other students were getting lost in the layout of the links. Looking at this feedback from the students, we realized that the students liked the idea of a list of links, but not all the clutter. From this point we worked closely with our own student web editors to come up with the most commonly used links for students.

After we decided on which links would be “featured” we started to think about adding the visual enticement the students were craving. We got to thinking about how we could add pizazz without overpowering the links and then it came to me, app icons. They are popular, visually enhancing, and most students see them everyday on their smartphone. The “Appbox” as we call it, displays the quick links and icons in a fast, easy and creative way fulfilling the webpage desires of the students.

We also had to address the list of links on the right-hand side of the page. The first thing that stood out was the disorganization of the links. From there we knew we had to make the navigation easier, so we grouped the links into three categories: Student Resources, Campus Resources, and Social Media. In each category we created a hierarchy of links based on what our student web editors and survey responses indicated are the most widely used links.

Throughout this whole project it was always about the students and what they needed for their Current Students page. We just hope the new page will help them easily find what they need! Please feel free to contact me about more great ideas, thoughts, or questions!

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Wooster Headline News

This morning we announced the URL for the new Wooster Headline News. WHN has been long overdue for an overhaul and thus, the project became a summer priority. The project was designed with a “make it modern, yet keep it simple” approach and is loaded with features previously unavailable.

Features

  • Integrates with Wooster login system
  • User-created news postings
  • A common format for all postings
  • The ability to post-date postings
  • Streamlined posting approval process
  • View postings by category
  • RSS feeds for today’s news postings and each category
  • Lists static links for commonly used URLs (Campus dining)
  • Reads RSS feeds for pulling dynamic content into WHN (Employment, News Releases)
Feel free to log in and post during the preview period, as the site is ready for use. As always, if you have ideas or suggestions, please let us know!
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Connecting with Facebook

Facebook Fixture

The Facebook fixture uses fields from a contacts database to render your link.

Facebook is popular among college campuses and Wooster is no exception. Many of our departments and offices maintain their own Facebook page or group in addition to The College of Wooster official Facebook page. Today we launched a new feature that will allow these departments and offices an easy way to link to facebook from their website.

The Facebook fixture is an extension of the contacts module that renders on the left hand side of every page. While the Facebook fixture will not appear on every page like the contact module, it will automatically appear on pages where it is intended to be displayed. The Facebook specific information will only need to be entered once in order to add the fixture to all of your pages. If you currently maintain a Facebook group or page, let us know and we can assist in getting it linked on your website.

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Revisiting our Search Feature

Search for awesomeBack in February I had the chance to beautify and add suggested results to our search on the wooster.edu website. Since then, I’ve used data about how our search is used to create more suggested results, making it easier for our search users to find the information that they are (most likely) looking for.

I’ve known that the majority of our searches are for a handful of frequently viewed pages on our site, pages like the academic calendar, Lowry menu and employment. During a conference I attended this October, there was a lot of discussion about using analytics to improve your site and methods to do so – That’s when I saw an opportunity to further improve our search with the addition of an autocomplete box.

By adding the most commonly searched phrases to an autocomplete box, our users will no longer have to type the entire phrase out. In addition to this, selecting a phrase will now take our users directly to the page they are (most likely) looking for. This eliminates the search result page in between, shortening the time it takes for a user to find what they are looking for.

If the phrase does not exist in the autocomplete or does not take them to the page they are looking for, the previous search functionality is accessible by using enter or clicking on the search button.

Thoughts, questions, phrase suggestions? Let me know!

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