The Website Working Group is seeking feedback and input throughout the design process, and you may sign up to participate in the process.
The New WWU Website
Western Washington University has begun a dramatic overhaul of its website and underlying structure. The result will be a new, marketing-oriented, outward facing website geared toward attracting new students. Internal, on-campus needs will be handled through an intranet portal in many ways similar to the current WWU website. As opposed to being built to interest potential students, this intranet will help internal users get where they need to go quickly and easily.
What's been done so far: Focus Groups
Last winter, the Office of University Communications began conducting focus groups on campus to talk to users about what they did and didn't value in a higher-education website. What worked for them? What didn't? How important (or not) were certain features? These questions were asked and answered by more than 80 participants — faculty, staff and students — as they looked at websites from regional peer institutions such as Whitman, Seattle Pacific, Evergreen, WSU, UW and CWU. These responses were collated into a list of overall wants and needs for the new WWU website and inner-facing intranet portal and will be used throughout the planning process.
The Working Group Forms
As plans and funding began to coalesce during the past summer, an operational WWU Website Working Group was formed to guide the process of the formation of the new WWU website, structure and intranet portal. This group consists of Steve Swan, WWU vice president of University Relations; John Lawson, vice provost for Information Technology and the WWU chief information officer; Matthew Anderson, new media coordinator at the Office of University Communications; John Farquhar, manager of Multimedia and Web Development at ATUS; Josh Parrish, information technology specialist with the Office of Admissions; Andrea Peterson, head of Library IT; Marie Raney, WWU webmaster; and John Thompson, assistant director of the Office of University Communications.
Assisting this group will be a yet-to-be-named advisement committee that will be kept abreast of progress, deadlines, stumbling blocks and movement toward project completion.
This group has begun actual nuts-and-bolts planning and implementation for the project, focusing first on potential features for the new website and how they might be implemented. The next phase will be to work on the site's look and feel.
When will it be done?
The WWU Website Working Group is planning on an implementation in early fall 2011.
How will this new web structure and website affect any existing WWU pages?
After the implementation of the project, all university pages will be built using a new template, following the specs and process prescribed by the Working Group and the new style guide released as part of WWU's rebranding effort. ATUS will assist in building new pages and switching to the new template. Whereas use of the previous WWU web template and styles have been voluntary, the use of the new web template and associated style guide will be university policy.
What software will the new template use?
All new template pages will be built and updated in an open-source Content Management System called Drupal, one of the most-used open-source systems in the world.
How can you help?
The Working Group is seeking feedback and input throughout the design process, and you may sign up to participate in the process.
Feel free to contact anyone in the Working Group, above, with any questions you might have.