Communications and Marketing

Frequently Asked Questions

Will content need to be migrated to the new site?
It’s not truly a migration, but current content will need to be evaluated and repurposed or reworked. So far, we’ve put the burden on publishers to format content, so things like a “Contact Us” page might be formatted differently from site to site right now. We’re striving to create content structures where the publisher can submit content through a form, and then the display of that content can be streamlined. In addition, using structured content will allow us to communicate and uphold standards much more easily. For example, there may be content that can be edited in one place, but will update everywhere at once, such as a phone number. We’ll also focus on our ability to relate content in dotCMS. For instance, we would have the potential to relate a professor to a program, and then relate that program to a student club or organization. Using structured content will also help us create a new user experience for those consuming the content.
Who will be reworking the content?
Marketing Communications will work with each unit on campus.
Will training be provided that covers writing for the web?
Yes, this will be part of the curriculum administered through IT Services. This is also an opportunity to express the university’s brand standards.
Will we have a way to hold to these standards?
We’ll need to provide training, and it falls to the organization to provide accountability. We’ll make sure the content and curriculum is available and provided on a regular basis. This is part of why it’s critical to have IT Services’s assistance with training and governance. There has to be governance, structure and organization to the site to help prevent us from being in the same spot we are today again in the future. Marketing and IT Services’s staff are limited, so publishers receiving training on how to maintain content is critical for our long-term success.
What about pages that have been maintained by those who have left or retired?
We have ideas for governance that will account for turnover and transition. This is part of why governance is so important. We need to ensure accountability. Right now, if content is wrong, it’s up to each individual unit to change it. There’s no system in place to ensure information is accurate and correct.
If we have an older site right now, how much longer will it continue to be accessed as we move toward the building blocks?
We recognize the need to be reasonable with everyone. Right now we’re aware that certain changes will be needed in place by July 1, 2018, but this is just one of many initiatives. The timeline may be affected by the domain itself. Normally we can only register one primary .edu domain name with EDUCAUSE. We’ve been able to talk about having two for up to eighteen months, but they will likely not allow a secondary .edu name beyond that timeline. Additionally, since we’ve moved dotCMS to the cloud, we do have options for archiving content within the cloud, but there would be a cost associated.
What should I do with my current site?
Maintain current websites by ensuring content is up-to-date and accurate. Start eliminating unnecessary content and files. Archive old pages and file assets that are no longer needed.
Some websites will have a ‘sunset law’, where pages that aren’t touched will disappear after a certain period of time. Is this a good idea?
As long as that timeframe is communicated to the units, it’s best practice to employ an idea like this. It would be a good practice for us to adopt.
Has this presentation been given to the deans yet?
Not yet, but we’re working on getting on the agenda for their next meeting.
Will external sites, such as Wordpress-based sites, be brought into dotCMS under this plan?
These sites were mainly created due to the current limitations of features in dotCMS. With updated templates, there should be fewer reasons for sites to require an outside host. We anticipate being able to bring these sites into dotCMS. One of the advantages of bringing this information into dotCMS is described by the acronym COPE—Create Once, Publish Everywhere. One of the paradigms we’ll be able to shift through this model is not only thinking digitally first, but thinking about how we can repurpose stories by focusing on the revenue side. Publishers will be able to think about how best to distribute content in dotCMS, as well as identify content needs and demands. We’ll have the capability to be more efficient in creating and publishing content.
Will this be communicated to faculty before the end of this semester?
Yes, we plan to communicate it to them before then.
Does this affect faculty members who have their own websites for classes?
This will not affect any sites.
Are you open to partnering with classes or groups of students for the process of updating content?
Yes, we’re open to hiring a group of students to help with the transition effort.
Is there a prioritized list of the departments that should be moving ahead relatively quickly?
Yes, the list [PDF] is available on the project website. The units are prioritized based on Content Strategy model—the university itself first, followed by revenue, and so forth.
Are you open to input on the information found on the microsite?
Yes, please let us know if you have any thoughts or input on this information. We appreciate your time and feedback.
How will the realignment affect the project?
While the realignment has introduced many uncertainties, the Website Modernization Project will move forward. Technology development will begin spring 2017. New university branding will be incorporated in the project once key identity and branding decisions have been made.
When can we start creating sites with the new design?
We anticipate new sites will be created beginning fall 2017. Details will be provided as the project progresses.
Are we still going to use dotCMS?
Yes. The university has invested significantly in dotCMS and will continue to use the system for the Web Modernization Project.
How long will the former site be available?
Currently we don't know. Details about the transition will come at a later date. 
Will there be any professional development and training for departments and publishers to use the new system?
Yes. Training, support, and certification will be provided for publishers. Details will be provided as the project progresses.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
If you have questions about the project, please contact Kathryn Hopkins at or 260-481-6710.
Will entering content on the new system be similar to how content is entered for the Events Calendar?
Yes. The Events Calendar has specific fields for information pertaining to an event, and the system handles formatting and displaying the information on the page. We plan to make entering content on the new system much like this, to help take the burden of formatting content off the publishers and put it on the system and the technology.
How will personas work throughout the site?
The personas are essentially the site visitors. Web publishers will be able to look at their homepage and see the content from the perspective of each persona. Alumni may see a banner related to giving or Alumni events, while a prospective student may see information related to visiting campus or applying.
Will the Web Advisory Committee membership be updated or expanded?
Yes. Our next steps are to work with Angie Fincannon, Vice Chancellor for Advancement, to ensure the membership is representative of the campus. We also plan to form several ad hoc working groups who will give input and provide feedback as the project progresses.
Are there any students on the Web Advisory Committee?
No, but we would love to add students to this committee.
Can you recommend any tools or best practices for writing content for the web?
Yes, the following are recommended tools or sources of inspiration:
Since the modernized website will be focused on driving revenue, will this make it hard to find other information, such as research, CVs, and so forth?
No, our goal is to make information for all audiences easy to find. There will be dropdown navigation with menu options for different audiences, and the site search will still be accessible. The modernized website will aim to drive revenue, but we recognize the need for all audiences to easily find the information they need.
Have you gathered input from current students?
We will be engaging with students during this project. The current documents are drafts, and our intent is to gain input and feedback as we work through this project.
Will the portal still be accessible after the website is modernized?
Yes, that will not change.
Will departments still have the same level of control and access in terms of the content that appears on departmental webpages?
We're still in the process of figuring out what the content development looks like. Our goal is to manage the length of the content and provide support for marketing programs. We also want to leverage the system to take as much of the the burden as possible off of the web publisher. Training will be available for the new system.
If the "Give" option stays across the top as users browse different sites, would it automatically set the user to donate to the unit or department who owns the site they're looking at?
Yes, we'd like to do something like this.
Will departments be able to have videos on their pages?
Yes, as long as they are 508 compliant. For example, a transcript and captioning will be required.
Will the modernized website allow for some amount of personalization for departments so they can differentiate from each other?
One of the things we're looking at right now is brand architecture. For example, website visitors may see the university's logo on the main homepage, but see the Department of Biology's logo on the Biology website. We also anticipate stripping out any top global navigation at the unit level and putting it in the footer, so that the top navigation can center around the unit, and focusing unit sites around the sub-brand level. Our goal is a more localized experience when a website visitor is at the unit level.


Important Information for Departments
Web Modernization Update and Requested Adjustments