About the New Website
Posted on 31 August 2015 04:59 PM
The new website is now live! This is exciting news for us, as it means fewer late nights, fewer meetings, and less stress. But for all of you, the added time and stress of finding your way around on a new website has just started. This post is meant to alleviate your concerns, and give you an update on what has changed. Let’s start with the most important things first.
Things are still weird
Many things are still being fixed. We hope to be back to normal before the first day of classes, but we anticipate that many minor refinements will be made over the next few months. Most of these issues are just visual glitches–a result of our larger template and new grid system–and shouldn’t impact the overall functionality of the website. If you notice something that looks odd, out of place, or completely broken, please email us.
Your banners are missing
A larger template requires larger images, and unfortunately, all banner images have been removed. You’ll notice a few on the homepage that are a bit special (they stretch to fill the space), and a few others that are a fixed width (on the about, academics, admission, arts, and athletics pages). We’re happy to work with you if you want your banners replaced. We may need new images from you, and please keep in mind, they are larger, and they will also be viewable on mobile devices (the old site removed banners on smaller screens).
We tried not to change the locations of pages, and most major navigational elements have been preserved. If you have bookmarks in your browser, nearly all should still work. That being said, a handful of changes were made that could lead to frustration. We think these changes were necessary, or we viewed them as an improvement. If you are curious about the reasoning behind a particular update, feel free to contact us or stop by the Web Services office. Your feedback is always welcome.
Faculty, staff, and student portal pages (where’s WebMail)
The homepage of the old website had links to audience-based portal pages (we referred to them as our OnCampus pages), where people usually went to log in to WebMail or find WebAdvisor. Rest assured, these pages still exist. We’ve moved all of our audiences into a new navigation section that includes links to the portal pages and eight of the more frequently used links for each audience. This new bit of navigation can be found when clicking the “information for” button near the top right of any Gustavus template page. This will expand a menu with the audiences and their links. The headings and the first link in each column (applicants, families, students, alumni, employees, visitors) link to the portal for that particular audience; students and employees get their respective portal pages, applicants get the Admission page, alumni get the Alumni & Parent Engagement homepage. Once people are used to using it, we hope it adds a measure of convenience. Your WebMail and WebAdvisor (and a few other goodies) will be easily accessible from nearly any page, not just the homepage, and this menu should stay consistent from desktops, to tablets and mobile phones.
Faculty and staff portals
The old website had separate portal pages for faculty and administrators/staff. After scrutinizing the links on both pages and reviewing our web analytics, we felt these two pages could be merged into a singular employees portal. Again, we think it’s a good change, but we’d love to hear what you think.
Alumni in the global navigation
The big links in the black area of our header have been relatively consistent throughout the years, but one link has been moved around more than others. Alumni was added during our last redesign–with much rejoicing–and this time, it was removed–again, with much rejoicing. This may seem a bit fickle (and somewhat callous), but we feel strongly that its new home under the information for menu is much, much better. First, we gain some consistency by featuring our main audiences in one navigation menu. It just seems to make sense. Second, the information for menu follows you as you scroll. If you find yourself at the bottom of a particularly long page, you still have quick access to alumni links. Third, the information for menu is the most important menu. At mobile phone sizes, the global navigation is dropped (the main links are replicated under the Visitors column of the information for menu) and all focus is on the information for menu. It really is the new global navigation, as it is present and available everywhere.
The search box has been moved to the very top of the page. Just click the magnifying glass icon to open the search box and begin typing. Since this top bar follows you down the page, you can now perform a search without having to scroll to the top of the page. We’ve also made the search box much more prominent on the mobile version of the site.
Search results page
The search results page (where you end up after performing a search) has received a number of updates. All of your search options are contained in four tabs: everything, people, pages, and offices. Everything shows you a little of each result type. A search for “Johnson” will bring up pages, people, and offices containing the name. You can then visit the other tabs to view more results or refine your search.
Concert icon has moved
Those of you that use Concert (the new content management system) will notice that the Concert link/icon is no longer in the upper left corner of your pages. We’ve moved this to the new user menu. The user menu is available after you’ve signed in to the website. The sign in button (at the upper right of the page) changes and shows a small circular version of your profile photo. Click this button to open the user menu and access things like Concert and your Gustavus User Settings (account) page.
Concert is widely available
This is just a reminder that the new design means you’ll no longer use Adobe Contribute to update Gustavus template pages (you can continue to use Contribute for personal homepages and most student organization websites). From now on, Concert is available to everyone, and you can contact us to talk about setting it up for your website. Concert is completely browser-based, so you will not need to install anything. We just need to know who should have access to your site, and we’ll set it up and send you an email with instructions. More information about Concert can be found in the GTS Wiki.
The GTS Helpline is a great resource for general questions about the website. They can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 507-933-6111. You can also contact us directly at email@example.com. Thank you for your feedback and support!