WordPress 3.8 Update for Sites and Clubs & Orgs is now live

If you recently logged into the admin area for Clubs & Orgs (clubs.sju.edu), or Sites (sites.sju.edu), you may have noticed the log in page has an updated “SJU” feel, with new background imagery and logo. Once you are logged in, the interface is new with updated colors, graphics, and typography.

New Log in Pages:

clubsloginpagesiteslogin

This is all due to the latest WordPress OS upgrade, version 3.8.Read about some of the highlights of the new version upgrade below.

If you have any questions, or issues with the new update, or want to get a site or blog for your club, org, or department, please send them to techhelp@sju.edu.

Introducing a modern new design

Modern aesthetic

The new WordPress dashboard has a fresh, uncluttered design that embraces clarity and simplicity.

Clean typography

The Open Sans typeface provides simple, friendly text that is optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing. It’s even open source, just like WordPress.

Refined contrast

We think beautiful design should never sacrifice legibility. With superior contrast and large, comfortable type, the new design is easy to read and a pleasure to navigate.


WordPress on every device

We all access the internet in different ways. Smartphone, tablet, notebook, desktop — no matter what you use, WordPress will adapt and you’ll feel right at home.

High definition at high speed

WordPress is sharper than ever with new vector-based icons that scale to your screen. By ditching pixels, pages load significantly faster, too.


Pick a color

We’ve included eight color schemes so you can pick your favorite. Choose from any of them below to change it instantly.

colorpick

To change your color scheme later, just visit your profile.

Refined theme management

The new themes screen lets you survey your themes at a glance. Or want more information? Click to discover more. Then sit back and use your keyboard’s navigation arrows to flip through every theme you’ve got.

Smoother widget experience

Drag-drag-drag. Scroll-scroll-scroll. Widget management can be complicated. With the new design, we’ve worked to streamline the widgets screen.

Have a large monitor? Multiple widget areas stack side-by-side to use the available space. Using a tablet? Just tap a widget to add it.


New University Search Engine

The university has moved from its unsupported, internally hosted, Google Search Appliance to a cloud based solution, Google Custom Search engine (GCS).

The new Google Custom Search (GCS) provides:

  • Better and quicker search results
  • Easy and powerful search administration.
    Search indexing statistics, logs, and integration with Google Analytics, provides relevant feedback which is used to improve Google’s central index, providing better search results from google.com as well as the result using sju.edu/search and the search box at the top of all university pages.

 gcsgraphs

With this information we can use GCS’s advanced features to make sure users are getting the information they need when they need it.

  • Advanced search features, including Promotions, which displays results, based on key words or time periods, at the top of the search results with a brief description, image, and custom appearance such as borders and background colors.

gcspromo

  • Autocomplete, helps users get results quickly by displaying useful queries as soon as they start typing in the search box.

 gcsautocomp

  • A less expensive solution (free for universities)

SJU’s search collection includes all the web pages in these domains:

  • sju.edu
  • giving.sju.edu
  • alumni.sju.edu
  • hawkcentral.sju.edu
  • clubs.sju.edu
  • sites.sju.edu
  • sjuhawks.com
  • presidentreport.sju.edu

IT Web Services along with University Communications configures and maintains the Google Custom Search Engine. Secure sites/pages, mySJU, and certain file types are not being indexed.

If you have any questions about the new search engine or request help on adjusting page results, please submit the request to techhelp@sju.edu. Due to GCS limitations, we cannot accommodate all requests to change search results.

Think Before Hitting Submit. Are You Just Adding to the Black Hole?

The history of publishing content on the web, at many colleges and universities, included the practice of throwing any and everything online, and see what sticks. Most server file systems look sort of like the My Documents or Trash Can folder on your computer, a place where we tend to add a new page, upload and image, or document and forget about it. Maybe, someday, you may get to organizing or updating those files and pages that still have to-do dates of November 2012. However, from my experience seeing what content managers do online, most usually just leave the old page, which has the November 2012 content, and add a new page that has the same content, but now has to-do dates of November 2013.

This is the pattern that allows many sites, including SJU, to have pages and pages of unused, un-updated, useless content that no one can find or reads. The old version of the sju.edu site, before the current redesign, had over 10,000 page files, and twice that amount of images, graphics, PDFs, and Word docs.  Image yourself that perspective student, potential faculty/staff member, or just someone browsing for information on our site, and has to wade through 10,000 pages to find the one piece of information that you need. Then they try to use our search box to look for that to-do page, but the results present the November 2012 page first, instead of the November 2013 page. And we hear all the time, “Search is not working,” Guess why?

 

Is your website working?

Does it have the best, most updated, content for the audience you are trying to reach?

Is it presented in a way they want, or are more likely to read it?

 

These are the question that we all need to think about before we hit submit in any of our web content management systems. Otherwise, you are just adding to the “black hole” of the web, and likely what you just published online is not going to be effective, engaging, or get any views at all.

 

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Usability Testing & Web Analytics

All of these tools will allow you to back-up the content you have or would like to have online with actual data. There is a great deal of information on the use and philosophy of these tools, so I am not going to begin to re-define them, however here are some good sources for more in-depth information on each:

Usability Testing (A/B Test, Card Sorts, Reverse Card Sorting)

Web Analytics (Site Stats, Event Tracking)

 

“This is too technical for me.”

“I don’t have time for this; I just need to get this content up”

 

Don’t worry; the Web Team is here to help.

The Web Team is in the process of developing procedures and tools that will allow you evaluate the content you have or want to put online. Giving content manager the opportunity to think about the business case for what you would like to do online or the issues you would like to address, before putting in a ticket or project request for a site overhaul, adding a photo carousel, or asking for scrolling text across the top of the page.

We are adding the ability to do A/B testing on ideas, to see if they are actually good ideas to improve engagement or test particular functionality, instead of just throwing it up and seeing if it sticks. Card sort testing that could allow your users to determine how content should be categorized and organized in a way they understand. Event tracking, to determine what action items are being used and what is simply being ignored. We will also be taking advantage of available plugins for Cascade and WordPress, to provide more access to analytics and website statistics to content managers, so you can have a better understanding of site usage.

More information and progress on the development of these tools will be published here, as well as in any contact you have with members of the Web Team. However, feel free to comment below with any ideas you may have to promote this effort.

Let’s try not to continue to allow the black hole grow, and work together to create useful, meaningful content for our users.