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WMS presentation: No website left behind

Title slide: No website left behind

We were very pleased at the terrific turnout at our recent WMS Presentation at McGill’s Communications Huddle! Communications officers from across McGill learnt about recent updates in the WMS. Attendees also picked up tips on how to use WMS tools and features to improve their faculty and department communications efforts.

Below is a list of resources related to the presentation titled, ‘No website left behind’.

Download a copy of the presentation slides.

IT Knowledge Base and Beta Blog articles:

Featured WMS sites:

Featured website: McGill Office for Science and Society

The Office for Science and Society’s media-rich website sports a number dynamic updates launched in mid-February 2017.

The revised site takes advantage of a number of recently released WMS features, including our brand spanking new article content.

Home page before:

OSS old home page

Home page after:

OSS new home page

New article template:

Article layout

Improvements include:

  • A revised home page that uses the new WMS templates to produce a layout that is easier for site visitors to scan and navigate.
  • A more dynamic Trottier Symposium page that better highlights themes and content from previous years’ events.
  • The launch of article content on the OSS site (previously, OSS articles were published in a separate blog)
  • More improvements to come! Additional updates to the OSS site will be launched over the coming months

Are you planning to revamp your site using recently released WMS tools? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

And don’t forget to check back for next month’s featured website!

Related links:

Featured website: Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance

Since the release of the new template blocks, a number of McGill sites have undergone a layout refresh resulting in improved scannability and visual impact. We picked the latest website to get a facelift, the Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance, to be January’s website of the month.

Home page: After

VP Admin home page, new

The site had recently undergone an extensive audit where content had been checked for validity and relevancy, but the look and feel of the site had been left largely untouched. This produced a somewhat sparse looking website with a loosely organized site structure and minimal design elements.

The Web Service Group worked with the Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance to identify template blocks and other layout tools that could be used to refresh the site and present its content in a more engaging, better organized manner.

Home page: Before

VP Admin home page, old

 Site improvements include:

  • A new menu structure that better reflects user requirements
  • The addition of images that better represent the role of the Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance and its responsibilities
  • An engaging new layout that makes it easier for site visitors to identify services offered by the Office of the Vice-Principal, Administration and Finance
  • A pared down site structure with fewer pages — content has been organized into categorized landing pages instead of individual pages with little information

Do you have plans to refresh your WMS site layout with the new template blocks and layout tools? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

And don’t forget to check back next month for our February website of the month!

Links of interest

Engineering a better website for the Faculty of Engineering

Usability testing booth Faculty of Engineering

What do coffee, the Schulich Library and McGill’s Web Management System (WMS) have in common? If you stopped by the Schulich Library of Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, and Engineering during the December exam period, you might say plenty!

We spent the morning of December 8 with the Faculty of Engineering’s site manager in the building lobby outside the Schulich Library conducting usability testing on Engineering’s website. Student participants were coaxed to take part in the short test with complimentary coffee from the popular Dispatch Café. Volunteers were asked to perform a variety of tasks on the site.

This is one of a number of initiatives currently being undertaken to assess the site in preparation for revisions planned for 2017. Stay tuned to the Beta Blog for updates as the project unfolds!

Usability testing in progress

Related links:

Top 10 WMS updates released in 2016

2016 was a big year for WMS improvements! By the close of the year, WMS sites sported a notably different look and feel. Additionally, new tools such as McGill Profiles, and the new template blocks introduced enhanced functionality improving McGill’s web experience for both visitors, and web managers and editors alike.

Check out our picks for the top 10 WMS updates released in 2016 and weigh in on your favourite updates in the comments below.

  1. New site header, December 2016

    The revamped WMS header, released at the tail end of  2016, will pave the way for some exciting new template enhancements, including wider web pages.Header example

  2. Revised vertical menu, August 2016

    The vertical menus refresh features a cleaner, lighter and easier-to-navigate design.New vertical menu

  3. McGill Profiles, July 2016

    Launched in early spring 2016, McGill Profiles makes it easy for site managers to present attractively formatted, easy-to-navigate biographical information to site  visitors.McGill Profiles

  4. Technical milestones, 2016

    Throughout the year, a number of behind-the-scenes upgrades resulted in improved performance in the WMS. Though you probably didn’t hear a lot about these updates you’ve likely benefited from the results, which include reduced issues during times of heavy traffic, and a smoother more seamless browser experience for site visitors. Notable milestones (provided by our development team) include:

    1. Getting cron to run across all sites in under 15 minutes
    2. Automating configuration management with Ansible
    3. Defining and starting to implement the new server infrastructure
    4. Improved channels distributing — scheduled publishing is triggered to happen more often
  5. Call-to-action block, September 2016

    Call-to-action blocks automatically format content in an attractive, consistent  manner that makes it easy for your site visitors to identify how to take the next step.

    Call to action block examples

  6. Twitter block, September 2016
  7. List block, September 2016
  8. Sticky at the top of lists, April 2016
  9. Sortable tables, March 2016
  10. Auto-redirects, August 2016

Honourable mentions

2017 promises to be an equally momentous year for the WMS. A number of new enhancements are already in development, including a calendar/events search tool, a relevant content block and an all-new site dashboard. Stay tuned for updates.

Watch now! WMS Powertools presentation video

We had a great turnout at the Web Service Group’s December 2016 special presentation where we showcased some of the powerful tools in the Web Management System — tools that allow you to create dynamic websites easily and effectively.

Thanks to all the site managers and editors who came and learned how to harness the power of the WMS — the power to work smarter, not harder!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season! See you in the new year!

WMS Powertools presentation on YouTube

 

WMS tips for alpha site managers: Enter the matrix

matrix_component_example

Introducing the newest WMS webform component, the Matrix. This aptly named component can be used to create a matrix of form elements that can include textfields, select options, labels, and/or dates.

The matrix component is useful if you’re looking for a way to group multiple, related fields on a webform. For detailed instructions on how to add a matrix component to a webform, view the Webform component types in the WMS article in the IT Knowledge Base.

Related links:

Work smarter, not harder!

Shout-out to all the hardworking Site Managers and Editors in the McGill community!

Another week, another update beckons on your website. Between juggling all the tasks on your ever growing to-do list, it’s hard to carve out time to give your site the TLC it deserves. Why not harness the power of the WMS to create awesome, dynamic websites easily and effectively. Why work harder than you need to when there’s so much to do!

Join us at our next special presentation: Power Tools in the WMS

Power Tools in the WMS

You won’t want to miss this event. We’ll be showcasing some of the powerful tools in the Web Management System. Learn about tools that you might not be confident using or might not have even heard of. You could walk away with a couple of new tools in your tool belt!

Seats are limited to 125 spots so hurry, register early!

Date: Tues Dec 6, 2016 (Study Day!)

Time: 10:30 a.m. – noon (treat yourself to a great lunch afterwards!)

Location: Leacock 232 (a.k.a. the “Star Trek” room)

Register: www.mcgill.ca/wms/events

See you there!

New fields added to McGill Profiles

You asked, we listened.

Introducing five new fields now available in McGill Profiles!

  • Laboratory
  • Clinical Interests
  • Medical School
  • Residency Training
  • Fellowship Training

McGill Profiles are a fantastic way to showcase the people in your Faculty, Department, or unit, and in response to a need for including information geared toward the medical areas and research in general, these new fields should benefit many sites in the WMS.

Four of the fields are basic fields: Clinical Interests, Medical School, Residency Training, and Fellowship Training.

The Laboratory field however, packs a punch.

Laboratory Filter

Not only is the Laboratory field a filterable field — so your site visitors can easily find people by lab — it can also display the information as a link in the person’s profile.

Laboratory link

To create the link, just make sure to enter the values as HTML when populating the field in the field settings.

For example, enter the values as: <a href=”http://www.mylab.ca”>My Lab</a>

Laboratory field settings

For more detailed instructions on McGill Profiles, see the IT Knowledge Base:

 

The WMS gets smarter with a new dashboard

A few of the dashboard charts

We’re happy to announce that the new WMS Dashboard has been released in beta! The dashboard provides a one-stop view of site statistics which should allow site managers to more effectively manage their sites. Information displayed in the dashboard includes:

  • A list of all site users and roles
  • A list of translated and untranslated content
  • Links to drafts and recent content
  • Navigation quick links to easily add new blocks, content or files

This is just the beginning

Site managers who have access to the beta tester role can test drive the new dashboard by logging into the site admin and selecting “Dashboard” from the top menu. We’re looking forward to receiving beta tester feedback.

This is one of the many updates that were implemented in our latest iteration. Download the presentation slideshow for iteration 79 to learn about other recently added features and enhancements.

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