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Home Page Development

April 20th, 2010

The team working on OSU’s home page redesign project has made some great strides in the past few months, and we’re excited to be sharing the results of this work with you soon. Web Communications teamed up with Central Web Services on the design and development, with as many as 15 developers at a time coding on the project. After several long working sessions, we came up with a detailed plan for the process and technical architecture.

We decided to clearly separate content, design and code. Since we use Drupal for most of our content management on campus, this system was the natural selection for managing the home page. (As a side note, we’re managing our top-tier sites and our home page content in a single install). This also allows content experts around campus to directly contribute material to the home page.

But we still need some oversight in what content actually makes it to the university’s front door on the Web. This led us to formalize the approval process for home page content. Thus the new control panel was born. It allows us to pull content from the Drupal on a per region basis (see the wireframe to see how regions are defined). An additional benefit is the ability to fully preview the home page before anything goes live — something we currently can’t do. Once everything looks great in the preview, Web Communications staff can publish new content to the live page.

The control panel accomplishes all of this via cached HTML files. These files are great for optimizing performance and increasing the dependability of the home page because the Drupal database doesn’t have to be queried every time the page is viewed.

There has been a lot of hard work on this project so far, but more elements remain. In the next few weeks, we are focusing on making the page fully accessible, ensuring it works consistently in multiple browsers, improving performance and removing as many bugs as we can catch. Watching the mock-up come alive has been a very exciting process. We have less than a month left before the new page goes live, and we can’t wait to see it in action. Look for a live beta version in early May, and a public launch later in the month.

6 Responses to “Home Page Development”

  1. Carol says:

    Is the fact that the home page is under development the reason behind so many pages that “cannot be found”? As I browse the site and hit a link a good 40% of the pages I have tried to visit have been MIA.

    ???

  2. [...] for display for performance reasons.  There is some information on how the structure works in the Homepage update on the Webcomm [...]

  3. bakerda says:

    Hi Carol, many of the broken links across the top tier should be corrected by the new home page. One of the outcomes will be that more staff members across the university will be helping to edit home page and top tier content, meaning more maintenance and fewer errors.

    OSU has been moving a lot of content to Drupal and other content management systems, and this wholesale movement adds to the number of broken links…over time this should result in better maintenance across the board and fewer broken links because updating them won’t be limited to just a few Web professionals, but administrators in each department.

  4. Lindsay says:

    Hi,
    I can’t get to the financial aid page and I need to accept award. When will the page be back up?

  5. bakerda says:

    Hi Lindsay, you should be able to reach the Financial Aid information via this page: http://oregonstate.edu/financialaid/ Let us know if you have any trouble finding specific information.

  6. pattersw says:

    Hi there,
    When the ‘current student’ link on the right side the home page is clicked a list of support services come up, but the ASOSU Office of Advocacy isn’t listed. Also, on this page (http://oregonstate.edu/main/current-students/assistance) Office of Advocacy is again, unlisted. The Office of Legal Advising is also unlisted under these two resource directories.

    Will you please provide links to these two websites?
    http://asosu.oregonstate.edu/office-advocacy
    http://asosu.oregonstate.edu/office-legal-advising-0

    Thanks!
    -Max

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