Moving forward

Now that the site has been launched, and two months have passed, Melissa and I have been busy catching our breaths inbetween fielding editor’s phone calls, making changes to the site, and publishing content twice a day.

So where are we headed? Currently we are interviewing students for positions as part of our “Help Desk” crew, which will be a group trained in SiteCore to help with media gallery maintenance and question-answering. Our goal with this is to improve our turn-around time for Web-Updates questions and media gallery requests.

ScotBlogs is chugging along quite nicely, with it’s recent overhaul. Recently, I’ve expanded our ScotBlogs network to include some of our newest blogs, added a “When Do I Use ScotBlogs” article, updated our Terms of Use Agreement, and added a “Beginner’s Guide to ScotBlogs” to help new users get their feet wet in WordPress. My next steps are to create comprehensive guides to our available plugins, and a few super special customizable templates!

The launch of the new wooster.edu was just the first step. We have lots of ground to cover in the next few months, so make sure to check this blog or our site for updates!

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Musings on the upcoming site launch

Wow, what a journey this has been.

The apex of our work this far launches Monday and Melissa and I couldn’t be more excited! When I became part of the staff here at Wooster, I was thrilled with the challenge of working on another site redesign. With the help of our consulting firm, and the hard work of many people on campus ranging from IT to our numerous web editors, we are quickly approaching launch time. Melissa and I will be very curious to see how students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members react to the redesign and new site architecture. We hope that many will find it easy to navigate, pleasing to look at, and informative throughout.

The journey has taken many turns – some of which came before I joined the team – and all of them have been wonderful. Working in open-lab sessions with excited web editors in the past few weeks has fuelled our fires. Some even exclaimed that they “LOVE” SiteCore, our new Content Management System. We hope that all of our editors continue to enjoy the SiteCore experience, as well as the future open lab and educational sessions regarding web content and best practices.

I am particularly interested in seeing how our content changes over time. A few quick edits here, a few new pages there, and six months from now our content may look completely different than what it will be on Monday! The great thing about a website is that it is a never-ending project, and that every day presents a possibility for new content – be it through news releases, new events, blog posts, media galleries, or videos – and as the College and its community evolves, so will this wonderful new website.

Although the road to here has been a long one, many more advancements are being mapped out for our continuous web journey. So hold on to your seats, this is just the beginning of the ride!

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Tomorrow starts training

Beginning tomorrow, I’ll be conducting one two-hour training session each day for our web editors identified across campus this spring.

We have 13 editors taking responsibility for academic departments and another 23 editors responsible for administrative offices and non-academic areas.  That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

As important as it is for our newly crowned editors to understand how to use the new content management system, understanding WHY things are posted on the web is what will keep us moving forward. A majority of our two-hour session will be spent on best practices . Writing for the web,  understanding our audience, basic web marketing, and search engine optimization are all topics that will be touched on.

If you are a tagged web editor, don’t worry. We know some of you jumped head-first at the chance to be a part of this, and some of you are being pulled along kicking and screaming. We don’t expect you to be a web marketing guru. You don’t even have to like it. Our goal is to equip you with enough knowledge to make good decisions when it comes to posting content for your area of responsibility and understanding the potential positive impact our new site, equipped with great content, can have on our audiences. If we’re lucky, we’ll convert a few of you in the process.

By the way, we’re still here to help! Contact us anytime with questions, ideas, concerns, tasteful jokes…  When in doubt, contact webmaster@wooster.edu.

p.s. 29 days ’till launch.

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42 business days – but who’s counting?

The new Wooster.edu website, including the new online alumni community, are scheduled to launch on July 20, 2009.  (gulp)

Where do I start when it comes to new features? RSS, Flash, streaming audio/video, updated navigation, redesigned graphics… Most importantly, new content.

Behind the scenes we’ve got a host of new tools that will give the user a better experience, provide insight into our users’ wants and needs, and help us manage all of our web-based services more efficiently.

Future blog entries will highlight some of these new features in more detail, the ups and downs of the web redesign project, the future of the Wooster.edu website, social networking, web best practice…

If there’s something specific you want to know more about, please don’t hesitate to use the comments to let us know or email webmaster@wooster.edu. We’re listening.

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