College Websites & Drupal - FAQs

What is the deadline to move my department’s website to the new template and Drupal?

  1. The goal of the Dean is that all departments in the College are in the new template by July 31, 2014. This may seem like a long time away, but consider that if you don’t start planning soon, the deadline could sneak up on you.
  2. It’s a good idea to start considering the move as soon as possible. You’ll need time to review your content and plan for the new site.
  3. The size of your site could determine how quickly you’ll be ready. Smaller academic units may have smaller sites and can prepare to the new site more quickly than larger academic units.

What steps should my department take when migrating to the new template?

  1. Departmental accounts in Drupal will be available beginning September 1, 2012.
    1. To get started, it’s helpful to do a review of your current website. Which pages are accessed most? Which are accessed least? This can be an opportunity to drop pages that aren’t being used and highlight the pages that are.
  2. Get familiar with the new structure in the template. This will help your department think about how to organize your content.
    1. Based on a review of website analytics and user habits, Marketing Communications (formerly University Relations) has created broad top-level categories to give units a head-start on sections in which to organize website content. The categories are:
      1. About – Overview of your department, mission, main contact information, news and events
      2. Academics – Information on degrees, minors, concentrations, courses and the general curriculum in your department
      3. Admission – Information on how to be admitted to your department
      4. Research – Perfect for profiles on research in your department by faculty and students, highlighting of grant awards
      5. People – This is where profiles of your faculty, staff, GTAs, etc., should be listed.
      6. Alumni & Friends – Ideal for housing your alumni communications (newsletters), providing more information about giving opportunities, alumni profiles, etc.
      7. Resources – This could house information about advising in your department, faculty/staff
    2. Some of these categories are required for all sites of academic units in the College: About, Academics, Admission, People and Resources.
    3. For centers that do not offer degrees, the required categories are: About, People and Resources.
  3. Consider putting together a small committee to review content and make recommendations on where to place it in the new structure.
  4. Seek input from Marketing Communications. They can offer advice on your new site architecture and content.
  5. Get in touch with the College’s Web Services Team to let them know you’re interested in getting started on your new site. A few tips to keep in mind:
    1. The Web Services Team can help with creating your site and uploading content. However, the creation of content and the structure of your site is the responsibility of the department.
    2. The Web Services Team serves all 50+ departments, programs and centers in the College. They will take new projects on a first-come, first-serve basis. They also can’t make much progress on your site without content. The more content you can provide in a timely fashion, the sooner you will have a new website.

Are all units in the College required to move to the new template?

Yes. The goal of this new template is to enhance the experience of web visitors across the spectrum of university sites. By introducing more consistent navigation and layout in all our sites, the end result is more prospective students, faculty and others having an enjoyable experience with our sites, rather than becoming frustrated and potentially turned off by having to learn a new way to navigate within each site they visit at KU.

Who maintains websites for units in the College?

Ultimately, the personnel of each unit are responsible for creating and maintaining content on their websites. However, the staff of the College’s Web Services Team are available to help along the way. They are a resource for all units on troubleshooting and questions that require more detailed technical assistance, such as programming.

What are the benefits of the new template design?

  1. The template was designed to be scalable, which means it’s mobile and tablet friendly. As the browser size shrinks, the page contents will adjust to fit.
  2. It’s easier to design around. The template has clearly moved away from the Curve, which made images more difficult to size and edit. It also made navigation placement more difficult. With a linear structure, the image sizing and content layout are simpler.
  3. Each unit will have a signature image in the background of the header that will help distinguish your site from others and express your department’s identity in visual form. It could be a shot of the building you’re housed in, an interesting textile pattern, a shot of text or formulas, and more. It’s up to your imagination to figure out what that image may be.
    1. Marketing Communications (formerly University Relations) will provide free photography service for your header image.

What are the benefits of Drupal, the new Content Management System?

  1. A Content Management System is a more streamlined and accessible option for editing and adding online content.
    1. In the previous web setup at KU, pages were created and maintained primarily through Adobe Dreamweaver. To edit and create pages required a user to have the software installed on their computer and moderate to high ability in HTML.
    2. With Drupal, users need only an Internet browser to login to edit content and no HTML skills for most basic functions.
  2. Drupal has a workflow system. One user can start a project, save a draft, and allow for another user to pick up where the previous user left off. This makes larger projects easier to tackle, and makes it easier to assign content updates to student assistants without giving them the authority to make changes to the site without a supervisor’s review.
  3. Drupal offers several tools for automated generation of lists, such as courses and faculty/staff profiles. This makes the work easier on your department and prevents errors that are more easily introduced when entering information manually.
  4. Drupal has a built-in system that allows you to easily post your own news to your page and to generate a list of all your news on a central page.
  5. More information about KU and Drupal can be found at the KU CMS website.

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