Good morning Unit Web Coordinators,
As noted last week, we are sending this month’s update via email in lieu of an in person meeting. We will have more news to share around the ongoing web refresh and other relevant topics in the March meeting, but in the meantime we wanted to make you aware of the following:
- We have continued to update WordPress, bringing the WWW and IN platforms to PHP 7, and the IN platform to WordPress 5. We are nearing the upgrade of WWW to WordPress 5, which should further improve performance for all visitors.
- In addition, this will pave the way to begin moving the WWW network off of the third-party cloud hosting it has been using, Armor, to the superior Microsoft Azure hosting that has benefited IN for quite some time. This effort is being resourced currently and we will provide status updates as it moves forward.
- We’d like to extend our thanks to all who attended the WordPress classes during the Technology Summit over the winter break. We still teach the topics covered there (TablePress, Gravity Forms, and Siteimprove) in our regular WordPress Open Labs so please do not hesitate to come to the lab for any issues or training needs! The schedule can be found on the /Web website.
- With the success of the Siteimprove trainings, we have nearly doubled the active users within the system, ensuring many more sites are taking charge of their own growth and quality assurance efforts. Alongside that work, the EASI Web Team was able to reach a major milestone that we are proud to announce: 0 broken links on in.nau.edu! While new broken links appear every week, the numbers are small enough that our team and the editors on the IN platform are able to remediate within a few days. This allows us to focus attention on other concerns, such as accessibility and spelling issues.
- Collaboration and process refinement continues with University Marketing and the Digital Marketing support team, with the intent of helping them reach similar goals for nau.edu. We will include their progress in future updates.
- University Marketing has also been deeply involved moving forward with a variety of web-based initiatives, namely: the onboarding of a new social media agency called Red Door, the web refresh for nau.edu, and a new microsite for the NAU “Bring Your Aspirations” Campaign.
- They are also in the process of filling the Associate Director position for the Digital Marketing team as well as working on additional resources to augment that group.
- Finally, we are in the process of evaluating a new accessibility tool known as AccessiBe, introduced by Sean Kugler and the Disability Resources team. AccessiBe provides an entire suite of accessibility options for users visiting NAU pages that would ease many usability concerns and improve screen reader functionality. There are some issues in how it integrates with certain elements of the theme, but stakeholders from groups across the University are currently engaged in the testing process.
- We plan to have a review of this tool at next month’s meeting, thanks to Sean!
If you have questions on any of these specific items or WordPress concerns in general, please reach out to myself or Rye Heidinger so that we can ensure they are addressed and routed to the proper team.
Chad D. Stiller | Associate Director
ITS Enterprise Information Services