News and Updates
The Web Oversight Committee (WOC) thanks all respondents to the Faculty Senate Web Survey! WOC hears you. We have the same concerns and are working on many of the issues. Although, many on campus still have fond memories of the Legacy site, one item we all seem to agree on is that the current website is better than the old new website. Your feedback is important and we have a form linked on this web page to make it easy for you to contact us.
Below is our response to the four themes identified in the survey comments as well as a list of items WOC is working on.
Who chose our new website?
A university wide Web Oversight Committee (WOC), currently comprised of 17 faculty and staff across campus, began the task in Fall 2016 of working with KPS3 (an expert in higher education websites). KPS3 designed the templates with best practices, ADA accessibility, and mobile compatibility at the forefront. WOC and KPS3 collaborated and held focus groups with many others on campus. While faculty and staff often access the UM website on a laptop or desktop, many of our current and prospective students access it on smart phones and tablets, so the templates are mobile compatible. The website will never be ‘final’ and is a continuous and open project with updates, adjustments, and expansions to fit our needs. It does provide us with a good platform and we are working now to make it better.
For a website to be useful, visitors must be able to navigate and find the information needed. WOC is already working on improving the navigation of the web site. Your suggestions are crucial to improve the usability. The newly formed Navigation Sub-Committee is tasked with receiving suggestions and developing recommendations for the WOC.
First, the sub-committee is working to expand the links contained on the Faculty/Staff and Current Student’s pages (located at the top of of the web pages). Initially, these pages included links to technology and software logins formally located in forUM. The final version of these pages will be a ‘site-map’ of links, information, instructions, forms and campus offices. Once completed, these pages will be a starting point or landing page for employees and enrolled students.
Please send us suggested items to be included on these pages or other navigation issues (including broken links) by emailing the co-chairs directly or using the submittal form on WOC webpage.
Content relevancy and updates
Another category of comments expressed concerns about a lack of relevant and updated information on the website. Content Owners and Content Managers are responsible for ensuring their pages contain updated, accurate, and relevant information. They are also tasked with ensuring their pages are in full compliance with ADA regulations. New Owners and Managers must complete training before acquiring access to their pages in WordPress. Current Owners and Managers will need to complete annual training to keep up with ADA requirements as well as updated features for WordPress. The WOC webpages contain a list of Owners and Managers. If you see content on a webpage that needs attention, you may contact the Owner or Manager directly, or submit a message to WOC using the submittal form.
Faculty and Staff web pages – these are available by direct request to the Content Owner of the department or office division and do not need WOC approval or ticket submission. The Content Manager for the new page will be the same as the content manager of your department/office.
Design and images
While many comments concerning the design of the website were positive – clean template, inviting, updated look, eye-catching aesthetically pleasing, streamlined – some were not. The basic templates of the website cannot be altered. Some photo headers found at the top of the page are blurred purposefully so that the page title is legible and at the forefront. With the exception of the front page and landing pages, Owners/Managers may customize the photos displayed on their pages.
We are required by federal law to meet ADA Accessibility requirements for the UM Website, Faculty/Staff Pages, and Affiliated Pages. Required annual training of all Content Managers/Owners in best practices will help ensure all our pages meet the requirements in compliance of the law. Some design elements on the pages are in place to adhere to ADA required accessibility features. One example is the green accent color. Green is not a UM color, but it is a high contrast color approved for low vision accessibility. During the design phase, WOC choose the green over a high contrast orange.
What we have done:
- Hired a Web Applications Specialist – Ashley Dancy
- Required training for Owners/Managers prior to access to WordPress
- Created Web Accessibility Policy
- Created a WOC webpage
- Made available a list Content Owners and Managers list on web page
What we are working on:
- Feedback forms through website for easy communication with WOC
- Required annual training for current Owners/Managers
- Comprehensive Faculty/Staff and Current Student link pages
- Improved navigation throughout the site
- Elimination of broken links
- Incorporating more UM photos on landing pages
- Compliance with ADA requirements and regulations.
What we plan to do:
- Develop Standards and have them available on the WOC site
- Develop Procedures posted and have them available on the WOC site
- Develop a resource page – best practices, accessibility standards, training documents and/or videos, etc.