What’s up in the VT, CALS, and VCE web world?

With the start of a new semester, I wanted to welcome those who are new to the CALS and VCE family and to give some web-related updates. I’ve gotten lots of questions in the past few months regarding a variety of things, so see the sections below for information on the CMS migration, new web templates, and restructured teams. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions!

Content Management System migration

The Virginia Tech web team is hard at work testing the new content management system (CMS) and making sure the migration will go smoothly. An exact date for the switch over has not been announced, but it should be in the next few weeks.

Please note that the VCE Unit Office websites will not be migrated at the same time as the rest of the CMS. It was originally built with special content types that require a separate process. While the rest of the websites are moved into the new system, the Offices sites will remain in the old system. This is a very good thing because it means that we won’t need to potentially troubleshoot the CALS, main VCE, and Publications websites at the same time as the 107 unit office websites! See the next section below for information regarding the Unit Office redesign project.

While the switch over is happening, we are anticipating a blackout period where CMS users will not be able to access the system and make updates. If you anticipate needing to update your website around the start of the semester, do this now! Don’t wait! Otherwise, it may be awhile before your content and/or documents can be updated.

After the switch happens, CMS admins will be trained on using the new system, and subsequent training for other roles will happen after. Network Learning Initiatives (NLI) on campus will be holding training, and we will determine if we will need to do additional, targeted training for specific groups.


VCE Unit Office website redesign

Due to the aforementioned CMS migration, the Unit Office website redesign project has been put on hold. We will need to know all the components available to us in the new system before we can make an informed decision on how the pages should look and function. We have the feedback and documentation we collected earlier in the year, and we look forward to getting this project up and running again in the new, more user-friendly system.


New templates

If you’ve poked around on the Virginia Tech website, you may have noticed the new responsive template. We have been test-driving the template for our Communications website, and we’re hoping to get that switched over shortly.

But that won’t be the only template that will be responsive in the new CMS!

The university is redoing most of the existing templates to be responsive as well, so mobile visitors to your site won’t be confronted with a hard-to-navigate mobile site. Instead, they will see a version of the desktop site that can fit any size screen.

The exception to this will be websites built in the current Homepage 7 template. That site will continue to have its regular mobile site. The main VCE website was built using this template as a base, so we will eventually need to move it into a responsive template.

If you wish to switch your website to the new responsive template, please take out a job request in our Job System. Most of the switch overs will be relatively painless, but in most instances, your website’s navigation will need to be restructured. It’s a good idea to start paring down the number of top-level navigation items to seven or fewer (based on the length of the words). We will be working on a departmental prototype website that can be used as a guide for department websites.


Web team personnel updates

The Office of Communications and Marketing went through a minor restructuring this summer. Brandi Evans has been moved to the editorial team under Zeke Barlow, and Constance Moulder is back with the larger web team under Susan Gill.

Brandi will still continue to do most of her duties as before, but general updates to the VAES/AREC websites will stay with the web team. She is the point person for social media inquiries and Insights production.

Constance’s duties have not changed, and she is still the point person for updates to the VCE Unit Office websites.


General project and update procedures

To keep projects running smoothly and efficiently, please follow our guidelines for requesting website updates and new web jobs.

CALS / Research / VAES / AREC

Minor updates

How: Email Susan Gill or Josh Chambers or take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team or anyone who has access to the respective CMS community

Major updates or new builds

How: Take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team

CALS Departments

Minor updates

Who: Designated user within each department (web team will assist with questions and training)

Major updates or new builds

How: Take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team in conjunction with the department-designated user

VCE main / Publications

Minor updates

How: Email Susan Gill or Josh Chambers or take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team

Major updates or new builds

How: Take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team

VCE Unit Office

Minor updates

How: Email Constance Moulder or the designated user within the Unit Office
Who: Designated user within each Unit Office or web team

Major updates or new builds

How: Email Constance Moulder or take out a job in the Job System
Who: Web team


Requesting a topic page on the VCE website

In case you missed it, I gave instructions on how to get a presence on the VCE website in Insights. Check it out!

If you have questions in general about web jobs, don’t hesitate to give me a call (1-6630) or send an email (susan83@vt.edu)!

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About Susan Gill

Web Project Manager, Office of Communications and Marketing, 133 Smyth Hall, Virginia Tech, 540-231-6630
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1 Response to What’s up in the VT, CALS, and VCE web world?

  1. Pingback: Strategies for Better Communication recent posts | Insights

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