Okanagan College Website Redevelopment
Public Affairs and Information Technology are working on a complete redevelopment of the Okanagan College website; everything from the back-end infrastructure to the forward-facing design and user interface will be transformed. Website best practices are shaping the development, including: consistency of information, responsive design, web accessibility, usability, search engine optimization (SEO), reading comprehension of the audience, and analytics.
A lot has been accomplished since the project kicked off in August 2018, and much more work is yet to come. OC departments and staff are key partners in this project, and we encourage you to connect with us as the project ramps up.
Click to enlarge timeline
The fall of 2018 involved significant stakeholder engagement sessions, which included talking to current students, staff and high school students. Based on this, Public Affairs was able to test designs and prototypes with users. In 2019, significant time has been spent training Information Technology and Public Affairs staff on the new system and best practices, to support the build.
|Oct - Dec 2018
||Stakeholder engagement sessions
|Jan - Apr 2019
||User experience design phase
Development phase 0: Exploration and consultation
IT and PA development training
|Apr - Aug 2019
||Development phase 1: Core build & base content
||Beta 1 (internal only)
Level 1 and 2 landing pages, basic search functionality and early adopter departments
|Aug 2019 - Jan 2020
||Development phase 2: Integration and content build
|Aug - Nov 2019
||Beta 2 decision point: Launch of new homepage and top level landing pages or continue to develop internal
Content re-build for priority 1 areas and power user training
|Nov 2019 - Feb 2020
||Content re-build for priority 2 areas and all user training
|Jan - Mar 2020
||Development phase 3: Operational transition
||Launch new website
|Feb 2020 - ?
||Content re-build for priority 3
Engage community of practice for ongoing web priorities and requirements
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Review, rethink, rewrite: What you should do now to prepare
Time spent now on reviewing, rethinking and rewriting your web content will help ensure your pages are ready for the rebuild.
- Review: Users read, but not every word. Easy to scan content is easier to digest than long paragraphs. It is recommended to have no more than 20 words per sentence and max 5 sentences per paragraph.
- Rethink:You are likely to find out that you have too many webpages. Rethink your content strategy and delete content that is outdated, duplicated or not needed. Remember, the fewer pages you have, the fewer pages you will need to maintain.
- Rewrite: Reading comprehension should be no higher than a grade 8 which is said to be plain English easily understood by 13 – 15 year old students. Grade 6 is said to be easy to read conversational English for consumers. Use hemminwayapp.com to grade your text.
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Why is Okanagan College redeveloping its website?
Frequently Asked Questions
Online technology and web design have evolved since OC’s last website redevelopment project. The current site is not mobile responsive, nor was it built with best practices in mind such as accessible and mobile-first design. Feedback from students and staff, in addition to website analytics, indicate it is time to update the website.
Who is guiding the website redevelopment project?
The Web Steering Committee is made up of representatives from stakeholder departments. The committee will guide the web project and consult on matters related to the governance and sustainability of okanagan.bc.ca. The Web Project Team is made up of representatives from IT Services and Public Affairs.
Where does website ownership live?
Public Affairs and Information Technology are responsible for the design, overall user experience, content standards, development, infrastructure, maintenance, performance and enhancement of the Okanagan College public-facing website. The Web Developer and Content Manager serves as an institutional resource on web publishing while guiding the implementation and use of new technologies and innovations for web development. Working with portfolios and departments across the institution to ensure professional presentation of information on the public-facing website.
Public Affairs and IT recognize, though, that the website requires contributions from all stakeholders on an ongoing basis. To support this wider network, a Community of Practice will be made up of content editors from stakeholder departments chosen by the Web Steering Committee. A representative from Public Affairs and IT Services will co-chair the committee.
What are the guiding principles of the project?
The guiding principles of the project include focusing on user-centred design, ensuring the look and feel are consistent with the College’s brand, and aligning the website with the core values and key directions outlined in the College’s Strategic Plan.
What is user-centred design?
The College has many audiences, including prospective and current students, alumni, donors, prospective and current employees, government, industry and our community. The new website will be built taking all our audiences into account, with the main focus on prospective students.
Have you talked to students as part of the redevelopment project?
Yes. Public Affairs and IT have engaged current OC students and high school students to identify challenges with the existing site, as well as test designs and prototypes.
What is happening with ACM (aka Ironpoint)?
Active Content Manager (ACM), also known as Ironpoint, is no longer supported by its parent company, which greatly limits its capability for design, build and integrations. Many institutions are moving away from ACM as a result.
What is the new content management system going to be?
Drupal 8 has been selected as the content management system for OC’s new website. This is an open-source system that will enable OC to continually improve the site, develop new features and integrate applications. Information Technology staff have received intensive training through the first four months of 2019, so they can support the development process to come.
Will users receive training on the new content management system?
Yes. Once the beta version is complete, Public Affairs and IT will develop resources to help train content editors. Users will be supported through this change, and the Community of Practice will provide continual training and support.
What is included in Phase 1?
There are a lot of elements that go into redesigning a website, in addition to changing content management systems. Public Affairs and IT have been working diligently on the following items to move Phase 1 of the project ahead:
- Server infrastructure upgrades to support Drupal and configuration best practices
- Drupal 8 training for Information Technology and Public Affairs staff to support institutional needs in the development process, and the start of power user training
- Developing a website style guide, including a look-and-feel consistent with OC brand
- Identifying and building flexible components of webpage layouts
- Easy-to-use navigation structure that has been tested with prospective students
- Incorporating web accessibility standards (WCAG AA) for design
- Completing an internal “Beta 1” website that features a new homepage, top-level landing pages and specific “beta partner” pages
- Integrating new “Beta 1” site with existing pages, until redevelopment of all departments is complete.
What will happen after Phase 1?
The next two phases will focus on content rebuilds for all departments along with end user training for content editors in each department. In consultation with the Web Steering Committee, Web Developer and Content Manager has outlined a prioritization matrix to schedule rebuilds and training for each department.
What ongoing support will be available for the website after the redevelopment?
The Web Developer and Content Manager serves as an institutional resource on web publishing while guiding the implementation and use of new technologies and innovations for web development. Working with portfolios and departments across the institution to ensure professional presentation of information on the public-facing website.
Public Affairs and IT recognize that the website requires ongoing contributions from all stakeholders on an ongoing basis. To support this wider network, a Community of Practice will be made up of content editors from stakeholder departments chosen by the Web Steering Committee. A representative from Public Affairs and IT Services will co-chair the committee.
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Have questions or feedback?
Your feedback is important as we develop the website. Please send comment and questions to the Kim Fukushima, Web Developer and Content Manager.
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