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Oct
1
Webmail/GusMail links
Posted by on 01 October 2015 11:57 AM

We recently added a link to either Webmail or GusMail to your user menu. You can now click the user portrait that appears after signing in (button at the upper right corner of any Gustavus page) and have your current email service listed. If you’re a GusMail user (students), you’ll already be signed in to your email. Webmail users (employees and some students) will need to sign in to Webmail separately. For students, this is another great reason to migrate your account to GusMail.

webmail-link


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Sep
16
Accessibility and other improvements in Concert
Posted by on 16 September 2015 10:03 AM

We had quite a few people asking about accessibility during the new website preview event. I’m happy to inform you that Concert is now helping to create more accessible pages by requiring editors to add descriptions for images (alt tags). If you are adding or editing an image without a description, you will see an alert asking you to add a description in order to continue on.

There is no way to retroactively prompt users to add descriptions to images that are already on the page. To help keep our site accessible, we are asking site editors to please add a description if you know you have added an image without a description.

There are also a few other changes we have recently added to Concert:

  • We are now automatically making images and embeds more responsive to help with viewing on smaller screens like tablets and phones.
  • Horizontal rules (hr) can now be added to pages. (under Insert > Horizontal Line)

We will continuously be adding features and updates, so we always appreciate any feedback or feature requests you may have for Concert. We want it to be easy to use, and allow you to easily relay your messages to your audiences.

Feedback or feature requests can be sent to web@gustavus.edu.

Thanks to all of you who have sent feedback and alerted us of any issues you may have had.


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Sep
2

We are pleased to announce that Gustavus Technology Services is providing a CrashPlan PROe online cloud backup service for Gustavus-owned computers.

Once you install CrashPlan PROe, this will back up your data from anywhere you have an internet connection, and is replacing the external (or extra internal) hard drive backup solution. You will no longer need to use the the external backup drive after setting up CrashPlan PROe on your computer. CrashPlanPROe will also allow staff and faculty to use their credentials to back up student stations, workstations in faculty labs, or any other Gustavus owned machines.

By default, the GTS CrashPlan PROe service will back up the entire system drive to the CrashPlan PROe cloud, excluding certain file types and directories. If you are unsure where your data is located, please contact the Technology Helpline to schedule an appointment to configure CrashPlan PROe.

To learn more or set up your CrashPlan PROe backup, please visit the following page:
https://gustavus.edu/gts/CrashPlan

If you have questions or concerns regarding CrashPlan PROe, please contact the Technology Helpline at 507-933-6111 or helpline@gustavus.edu.

Gustavus Technology Services
helpline@gustavus.edu
@GTSHelpline
507-933-6111


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Aug
31
About the New Website
Posted by 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).

What’s changed

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.

Employee Portal

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.

Search

search-locationThe 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.

concertaccess

Questions

The GTS Helpline is a great resource for general questions about the website. They can be contacted at helpline@gustavus.edu or 507-933-6111. You can also contact us directly at web@gustavus.edu. Thank you for your feedback and support!


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Aug
27
NEW Learning Opportunities!
Posted by on 27 August 2015 02:50 PM

We are SUPER excited to announce that we have NEW fun ways for you to learn more about the technology we support on this campus!

train

Tech Bytes – these interactive one-hour collaborative sessions will introduce you to different tech tools that we support here at Gustavus. We will mix up the class by having a hands on instructional piece, but also a time for discussion on why, how, and when we could use these tools in our class to help with engagement and retention. These sessions will be held in Olin Technology Center Classroom (Olin Hall 124B) and are facilitated by different GTS technology experts. Navigate here to view the upcoming schedule: https://gustavus.edu/gts/instructionalservices/techtraining.php

Moodle Drop-in Hours – these open-house type drop-in sessions are a time for you to come sit one-on-one with a full time staff member and get the help you need with Moodle (or any other technology!) Come for 5 min or an hour… Just stop by Olin Hall 124 (GTS Helpline Lab) during the scheduled times and we can help. Navigate here to view the upcoming schedule: https://gustavus.edu/gts/instructionalservices/techtraining.php 

Instructional Services YouTube Channel – we have created different playlist and recorded some training videos on how to use the different tools. You can access these anywhere, anytime, and watch as often as you wish! Navigate here to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdN2HJzExvqKeixw3KDnVKQ/feed

If you want to learn more, please check out the Instructional Services Webpage located at: https://gustavus.edu/gts/instructionalservices/. If you have questions, please contact me directly at mdunning@gustavus.edu or at Ext. 7179.

Click, Click… Learn!

Marni

Image courtesy of www.essentialsolution.co.uk


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Aug
19
Website Redesign Process
Posted by on 19 August 2015 08:53 AM

The Process

Roughly ten months ago, we outlined a process to redesign the website and presented it to the administration, and later, to the community. We broke this process down into four distinct phases.

  • Phase 1: Feedback and Idea Generation
  • Phase 2: Organization and Research
  • Phase 3: Design and Refinement
  • Phase 4: Development and Production

Phase 1

In the first phase, we spoke to members of the community and solicited feedback. Feedback was often delivered in-person during informational sessions, or via email afterwards. We met with individuals, classes, offices, and used every opportunity to gather information. We also created an online form where feedback could be submitted anonymously.

Since prospective students were quickly identified as our most important audience, we—with the help of the Admission office—created a survey specifically for this group. We heard from more than 160 respondents, and with a little faculty and student help, we started to make sense of the data.

What We Learned

We quickly discovered that search results were important to the community and to prospective students. The quality of our results depend largely on better content management (an issue we will continue to address in the future), but we saw potential areas for improvement through the use of design.

Despite the impassioned feedback about search, more people—including our all-important prospective student audience—prefer to browse for information. So information architecture and an intuitive navigation schema continue to be crucial. The ratio of searchers to browsers shifts dramatically on mobile devices where the majority rely on search. This also leads to another very important topic, the dramatic growth of mobile.

Mobile traffic to the Gustavus website increased 42% last year. Of those prospective students we surveyed, half said they visited College/University websites on mobile devices “occasionally” or “frequently.” While our old website had reasonably usable mobile styling, it came as an afterthought. We felt this process should focus much more intentionally on mobile and tablet design.

Phase 2

In this phase, we organized the feedback obtained from the previous phase and used it to set some guiding priciples (user-centered, mobile-friendly, visually simplified, logically organized, intuitively designed) and final objectives. We also spent a considerable amount of time analyzing other College/University websites—more than 500—and researching design trends. Our ultimate goals included:

  • Focus on mobile/tablet design
    • Increase the use of white space between elements
    • Decrease the “link clutter” on the homepage
    • Create a fully responsive (content/layout adapts to any size device) template
    • Increase text size and make buttons easily clickable on touchscreens
    • Make the search box more prominent on mobile devices
    • Improve mobile navigation
  • Increase the overall maximum width of the content area
  • Make banner images a useful focal point
  • Improve the search interface and the search results layout
  • Add a utility bar for easy access to search and frequently used links anywhere on the page
  • Make social media activity more visible on the homepage
  • Create a more contemporary look and feel

Phase 3

We worked closely with the Marketing and Communication office to produce several mockups that were later shared with various individuals and groups for further refinement. Some of our ideas proved unfeasible in initial tests, but we ultimately settled on a design that reflects our goals and gives us a stable platform for future development.

Phase 4

We’ve scrapped nearly everything—styling and code that has been hanging around for the better part of a decade. This means a lot more work now, but going forward, we’ll have the opportunity to bring more consistency to our web applications. Any good website is a work-in-progress, and ours will continue to see incremental changes long after the new design is launched. If you experience a problem or see an area in need of improvement, please don’t hesitate to contact us about it.

What’s Next

We’ll be sharing a preview of the new website in the next couple of weeks, and launching the new site before the academic year begins. We appreciate all of the feedback we’ve received during this process and we hope you’ll continue to send your thoughts our way.


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