Last August we launched a new online public events calendar to help tell Trinity’s story through the array of events happening on campus. The public events calendar was designed to be an attractive and easy way to promote events to the campus community and beyond
Welcome to events.trincoll.edu/campus
This month we released an expanded version of that calendar—Trinity’s Campus Events Calendar—for the campus community. Not only does this expanded calendar include public events (like lectures, performances, and athletic events), it now includes events that reflect the variety of opportunities and activities for students, faculty, and staff.
- Health and Fitness
- Info Sessions
- Meals and Receptions (non-dining hall meals)
- Off-Campus Trips
- Organization and Vendor Tables
- Recreational Sports and Experiential Education
- Social Gatherings
- Student Group Meetings
- Workshops and Presentation
The result is a dramatic expansion in the number of events that members of the campus community can find on the calendar. The goal is to help students, faculty, and staff find out what’s happening on campus and help event managers promote their events.
Training Users in the Calendar
One of the most important things we have heard from the campus community over the years is that events on the calendar have not always been descriptive or attractive. The new calendar is managed through an intuitive content management system that allows event owners to sign in and add details (images, descriptions, links, etc.). In the coming months we will be reaching out to event owners to provide training so that you will be empowered to add descriptive content to your events. It is important to understand that this is a two-step process.
- First, events are booked using EMS
- Second, log into the calendar and add the descriptive details to attract attendees
Look for upcoming messages inviting you to participate in a training opportunity. You can always be in touch with us if you’re ready to get started now.
Update on Trinity Today
Our office is busy with building a new Trinity Today, which we expect to release later in the semester. This will include
- a reimagined Trinity Today website
- a tool for faculty and staff to publish their own announcements
- a return to daily (and later, your choice of frequency) emails
After our campus survey about communications preferences, it was very clear that email pushes about events and announcements are important, and we’re working hard on the mechanisms to bring that back.
As always, we welcome your ideas, questions, and feedback, and we hope to hear from you. You can contact us using the form below, or feel free to send an email.
Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash
As the 2018–19 academic year comes to a close, we have a few updates about our office’s progress toward building internal communications tools to replace Trinity Today.
First, I want to say thank you.
I acknowledge that adopting a new process isn’t always easy, and the campus community has been wonderfully flexible with our temporary methods to publish announcements. We’ve spent the year hard at work with our campus partners to determine the best design for 1) an internal campus events calendar that pairs with our public events calendar, and 2) build a tool to publish announcements.
What We’ve Accomplished
In August we launched the college’s new website and public events calendar. The calendar is designed to highlight the rich diversity of events and activities at Trinity, and to help promote public events to audiences on campus and off. The new calendar and website required some significant changes to the way we promote events and share announcements for the campus community. In particular, it meant that Trinity Today—both the website and email—needed to change.
We detailed the changes in a post at the beginning of the year, but in a nutshell: The daily email from Trinity Today ceased; the Trinity Today website continues to exist as a tool for promoting announcements, and we have spent this past year in a transition period which we—together as a community—have worked to determine the best ways to meet our campus communications needs.
During this year’s period of transition, we implemented three specific ways to members of the campus community to share announcements:
- Global Emails: Anyone who had previously made use of Trinity Today for important institutional announcements was able to make use of the global distribution email lists for faculty, staff, and students. We expanded access to the campus’s global distribution email lists
- Announcements on the Trinity Today website: Our office posted campus announcements on behalf of faculty, staff, and students on the Trinity Today website. Additionally, we expanded the definition for announcements to include items that are events that would be found on the calendar, rather than limiting our definition to informational announcements.
- Weekly Digest: The email distribution of Trinity Today was important to many, and so during this transition, our office sent out a weekly email that is a digest of announcements published on the Trinity Today website.
The work to determine the campus’s communications needs was driven by by the Communications Advisory Group (CAG).The group’s members led a process to learn more from the campus community about communications preferences, and they provided input and feedback for our office and Information Services in developing solutions. Their work has been enormously valuable in helping to determine the right mix of components.
The goal of a redesigned Trinity Today is to provide an information hub for the campus community. This includes events, announcements, and and other need-to-know information. We have also heard quite clearly that many on campus like receiving this information in email. There are a variety of preferences, however, on the frequency and content of the emails.
The three major components of our redeveloped campus communications tools are:
- Campus Events Calendar: An internally focused campus life events calendar. This will complement our public events calendar, which is intended to promote events that are open broadly, including to the public.
- Announcements: A tool for submitting and publishing your announcements.
- Email subscription preferences: Not only will Trinity Today emails resume, but you will be able to make choices about the frequency and content of the emails you receive. Many felt the loss of the daily email, while others wished for a less frequent delivery or mix of content. Choices like these will be possible.
- Web: All of the events, announcements, and other information tools will be part of a modern, redesigned Trinity Today website. This will serve as a central hub for internal communications at the college.
We will share some brief updates as we aim to build out these components over the summer. These updates may include sneak previews of designs, updates about features, or requests for feedback. Our goal is to relaunch Trinity Today at the start of the 2019–20 academic year.
As always, your feedback is the most important thing we can receive, and we always want to hear what you think. Please be in touch with your thoughts and feedback at any time.
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash
Early in October, the Office of Communications and the college’s Communications Advisory Group (CAG) sent a campuswide communications survey to help us understand people’s preferences for receiving information related to life on campus. As promised, we’re sharing the aggregated results.
Summary of Results
We received a total of 360 responses. Almost all of them—356—came as a result of emailing the survey to the campus, and four were the result of distributing the survey link via a story on the college’s Instagram account. Of those responses, 51 percent came from students, 34 percent came from staff, and 15 percent came from faculty.
It is clear to us that the most valuable information to the community is information about events on campus. Approximately 85 percent of respondents indicated this to be the information they are “very interested” in knowing about.
The preferred method for receiving information is by email. At 77 percent, this preference eclipsed things like information delivered by a mobile app (25 percent) and some interest in having information delivered by social media (43 percent). We are certainly a campus that loves email!
The frequency of information delivery also came with a strong sentiment: 52 percent of respondents prefer their information delivered every day.
Many respondents took the time to leave thoughtful and important opinions as open-ended comments. The Communications Office and CAG are poring over these, and combined with the survey results, we have useful data to inform how we build a system to deliver information to the campus.
Explore the Data
In late August we mentioned that we would be creating a multi-constituency Communications Advisory Group to help improve internal communications at the college. We’re pleased to announce this year’s members, and we’re grateful for the experience and perspective that each member brings to the group.
Angela Paik Schaeffer (chair)
Vice President for Communications and Marketing
Associate Director of Human Resources
Communications and Data Assistant, CHER
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Director of Alumni Relations
Director of Development
Director of College Events and Conferences
Assistant Dean of Students
Marcia Phelan Johnson
Budget Director and Interim Director of Human Resources
Jason B. Jones
Director of Educational Technology and Interim Director of Research Services
Assistant to the Deans of Faculty and Academic Affairs
Karolina Kwiecinska ’16
Special Assistant to the Vice President for External Relations
Kristina Miele ’19
Associate Professor of History
Program Coordinator for Graduate Studies and Lifelong Learning
Kyle Smith ’05
Associate Director of Admissions
User Engagement Librarian
Abigail Fisher Williamson
Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and Law
Chair, Faculty Committee on Institutional Advancement
Lexi Zanger ’19
Vice President and Acting Communications Chair, SGA
Today we are thrilled to launch a brand-new website for the college at www.trincoll.edu. This project is the culmination of nearly a year of collaborative and strategic work between the Office of Communications and Information Services, together with our interactive agency, Fastspot, and our broad campus advisory group.
The website is the digital front door of the college, and while there have been some design and functionality updates to the website over the years, this is the site’s first fundamental overhaul since 2011. We have completely reengineered the site to create a new design, content strategy, and an information experience that prioritizes storytelling and strategic wayfinding.
Here are some highlights of the new site design:
Mobile-first experience: Not only did we set out to create a mobile-friendly website, but we understood that some of our users may only ever experience the website on a mobile device. All of the content is right-sized for mobile devices without losing critical information.
Easier-to-read and more accessible to all users: We know that the previous website wasn’t always easy to read. We heard from users that the small, low-contrast fonts made the previous site difficult to read. This design employs larger, modern fonts and high-contrast readability. In building the site, accessibility for all users was a high priority, and we built the site to conform to The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA standards. This means that we have used a stable, referenceable technical standard for building the website, and we will continue to test for and improve the site’s accessibility using these guiding principles. If we have missed the mark, though, we want to know about it so we can make it right.
Relatable content that allows more voices from our community to be heard: From the moment you land on the homepage, you’ll find stories about students, alumni, faculty, and the places and pride moments that make us who we are as a community.
A brand-new public events calendar: With the launch of the site comes the launch of https://events.trincoll.edu. Here you’ll find events from the new calendar feeding into the website’s homepage, and as more events when the academic year gets underway, we’ll add more targeted feeds throughout the website.
Some things to know about the launch:
This is a phased launch. Not all sites have moved over to the new design. As we outlined early on, many sections of the website are still in the SharePoint CMS. This allows the Office of Communications to work closely with site owners to shape their content to be as successful as possible in the new design. While users will encounter sites in SharePoint quite quickly once they leave the site’s homepage, we have worked to ensure that the information experience is seamless. If you spot any places where it isn’t, please let us know.
Site search is improving. We are using Google Custom Search Engine (CSE) as the site’s search engine. While this is a powerful tool for site search, you may see ads come at the top of your search results. This is not ideal and was not our intention. We are working with Google to change our CSE to be ad-free. Additionally, as Google crawls and indexes our new site, you will see your search results continue to improve. The full crawl should take a few weeks.
We need your help. As you navigate through the site, we want to hear from you if you have trouble using the site, spot errors, or have any feedback for us on how we can improve the site. Please be in touch and we’ll work to make it right.
Today’s launch is the beginning. More sites are already in the process of migrating to the new design, and we’ll be working with site owners throughout the year to migrate their content into the new site, train users on how to manage their new WordPress sites, and help event managers learn how to use the new events calendar.
Photo by Andreas Weiland on Unsplash
It’s been about nine months since we began the process of redesigning the college’s website. On Tuesday, August 28, if our testing and results continue as planned, the new website will go live.
Here is what you can expect to experience when we go live:
- www.trincoll.edu will continue to be our site’s domain
- The homepage and key areas of the site will be in a new design
- The old SharePoint site will still be part of the user experience—we’re splitting the content between two versions of the site while retaining a single trincoll.edu
- We hope you will encounter no flaws as you are looking for information on the site, but if you do, you can contact us. We want to know about any problems or questions.
One site, Two Designs
As we outlined earlier in the project, we are embarking on a phased approach to migrating content into the new website. This is a strategic decision to give our team the ability to work with site owners to address each site using care and attention to create successful content.
The college’s homepage and a targeted list of sites and pages (see below) will be in the new design. Content not yet migrated into the new site will remain in SharePoint as we work with site owners to move it into WordPress during the coming academic year.
- A note for content editors: This does not mean content editors will be responsible for maintaining two sites. Either a site will be in WordPress or it will be in SharePoint, but not both. Training for site editing and maintenance will be part of the process to import content into WordPress.
It is the intent for users to move seamlessly between the two sites—it will all behave as one trincoll.edu. However, there will be an obvious difference in design depending on whether they are looking at content in the new site or in SharePoint. As content is migrated from SharePoint into WordPress, we will reduce the instances of users seeing two different designs.
The areas and sites that are being migrated from the SharePoint site at launch are:
- The homepage
- About Trinity (and all its sections)
- Visit Trinity
- Admissions (and all its sections)
- Financial Aid (landing page)
- Academics (landing page)
- Student Life (landing page)
- 1-2 academic department sites
- Study Away (landing page)
- Career Development (and all its sections)
- Communications Office
- Office of the President
- College Leadership (now called Leadership and Governance)
- Faculty & Staff gateway page
- Current students gateway page
We have added significant amounts of new content that didn’t previously exist, including a searchable academic programs menu and stories about people, places, and pride—all available on the homepage—and a Career and Student Success landing page.
Questions, Concerns, Problems: Email Us!
We understand that a new website is a big change. It will take time to get to know the new design and navigation environment. If you have any questions about the launch, your site’s content, things you’re experiencing when you use the new website, or if you encounter problems with the site (bugs, broken links, photo or text issues…anything, really!) please let us know! Email us, because we want to hear from you. We want to know about your experience, and we want to improve anything that isn’t working.
When we set out to build a new website for the college, we hoped that we would also be able to provide a new, online public events calendar for the college. Over the years, we have heard from many members of the campus community that they would like to have an improved public events calendar that is attractive, easy to navigate, and easy to use when it comes to promoting their events. We’re pleased to announce that in conjunction with the launch of the college’s new website, we will also provide a new online public events calendar.
This new calendar is powered by LiveWhale, a calendar content management system that is designed for campuses to tell their best stories through their events calendars. In searching for a new calendar, the project team (members of the Communications Office, Events Office, and Information Technology Services) sought a solution that serves those campus needs and integrates seamlessly with EMS, our space and event support services scheduling system.
Welcome to events.trincoll.edu
When it launches during the week of August 27, the new calendar will be located at http://events.trincoll.edu. You will also be able to find events feeding into the homepage of the college’s website and into various pages within the website.
Space and Event Support Services Scheduling Will Remain the Same
The process for reserving space and accessing event support services at the college has not changed. Please continue to use http://reservations.trincoll.edu. Student groups should continue to work with the Office of Student Activities, Involvement, and Leadership (S.A.I.L.) to book space and event support services for their events and programs. As with the current system, events that will be visible on the calendar will come directly from the reservations system into the calendar.
The Events Office will be rolling out additional tools to help event managers use campus operations information to look ahead and plan their events. More on that will be communicated soon.
Trinity Today is Changing
Trinity Today as a website and daily email are changing. Master Calendar—the product that has powered the events and announcements feeds on Trinity Today—will no longer be used for announcements and as a public events calendar. We recognize that this is a big change for the campus community, particularly when it comes to broadcast announcements.
The Trinity Today email (which went out weekly during the summer, daily during the academic year) has already ceased to allow for the transition to the new calendar system. The Trinity Today website, though, will continue to exist for now to serve campus needs for internal communications.
We are working to provide a replacement for Trinity Today, but the transition will take time, and we need the campus community’s help and input to determine the best solutions. In the meantime, here are ways your announcements can be shared with the campus.
In this period of transition, we will ease the rules and practices around the use of the campus global emails. If you have previously used Trinity Today for announcements will be able to send their messages to the campus via email. Contact Caroline Deveau in the Office of Communications for access to send to the global distribution lists for faculty, staff, and students. You’ll also receive instructions and guidelines for using the global distribution lists.
Announcements on the Trinity Today Website
We understand that some announcements must remain visible for a certain period of time, which is a need that cannot be met by email alone. The Trinity Today website will be adjusted so that announcements will be visible to readers. To have your announcement posted on the site, email the Office of Communications with your content and publication dates, and your announcement will be posted for you on the site.
A Weekly Digest of Announcements
While there are mixed feelings about efficacy of the daily Trinity Today email, we recognize that an email push has been helpful to increase visibility for announcements and events. In this transition period, the Communications Office will send a weekly digest of announcements that are published on the Trinity Today website, as well as a link to the events calendar and other event resources.
Training for Users in the New Calendar
In September we will provide information about training sessions for users to learn how to use the new events calendar. Once trained, users will be able to log into the calendar and provide additional information (images, descriptions, and other details) to promote their events.
Our Path Forward
Implementing the new events calendar is just the beginning for improving campus communications and information sharing. We recognize that there needs to be a replacement for Trinity Today, and it has to be a whole lot better than what Trinity Today was. Figuring out the best solution(s) takes the work of many people and perspectives in our community. When the academic year begins, a cross-campus communications advisory committee will begin the work of determining solutions. We will provide updates to the community as that work gets underway.
We look forward to partnering with campus users in launching this events calendar, supporting your needs during this transition, and in ultimately building an improved system for campus communications.
We welcome your ideas, questions, and feedback, and we hope to hear from you. You can contact us using the form below, or feel free to send an email.
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
It’s the middle of the summer, but the work of redesigning Trinity’s website marches on. Our project team has hit several milestones since the spring, and we have a few more coming up. In this post we will update you on what we’ve accomplished, what we’re doing right now, and when we will launch the new site.
What We’ve Accomplished
As of today, we have reached the following milestones:
- The site’s design is complete.
- The coding to build the site is complete (front-end development).
- We have a content strategy document that guides us in creating successful content.
- We have a document that outlines how everything on the site is supposed to behave.
- The WordPress CMS is built and our project team is adding content.
When we last reported on the design templates for the site, we had arrived at a second version and chosen a design direction. Thanks to the incredible response from the Trinity community, we have been able to incorporate smart feedback from a variety of perspectives into what is now the final design system for the college’s site. This means all the designs for the pages in the site are complete.
Click on any of the template images to view them larger in a new tab. All words and photos are for placement only (FPO) and do not represent final choices.
Completed Front-End Development
The coding team at Fastspot has finished their development work. This means the WordPress editing environment is done and all the components that collectively form the design and behavior of the site are fully built.
Completed Content Strategy
The content strategy document contains guidance on voice and tone usage throughout the site, and it outlines the optimal use for each page template and component used in the site. The principles and the document will be given to site editors during WordPress training in order to help them be as successful as possible with their new sites.
Completed Functional Requirements
A functional requirements document is a tool for the project team to name and define all the components in the site and how they are supposed to behave. Components are the individual items that are used to build a page template, and a template is a collection of components arranged in a particular layout and order. Not only does this document help our team keep track of all the parts, but portions of this document will help site editors understand how to choose the right components that will help them achieve their goals with their websites.
The WordPress Environment
This week our project team was given the proverbial keys to the WordPress CMS for the college’s site, and we are actively populating the site with the content we have identified for launch. The site is currently residing on Fastspot’s development server until it is completed and handed over to Trinity for launch.
Looking Ahead: The Immediate Future
As our project team populates the site with content, the Fastspot team is working through quality assurance (QA) testing. This means they are combing through the site to identify and resolve bugs that affect functionality for both the site user and the editors using WordPress. Over the course of the next five weeks, our project team will be building content in the site, including migrating the sites we have identified for launch. We remain in touch with departments and site owners throughout this process. Of course if you have questions, you can feel free to be in touch.
Looking Ahead: Launch
Trinity’s new website will launch early during the week of August 27. This is an exciting moment for our entire community, but we understand that you may have questions.
- When will my site be migrated into the new site?
- When will I receive training on how to edit in the new website?
- What do I do if I discover a problem with the new site?
- What if I can’t find what I’m looking for?
- What happens after launch?
First, in the next week or so we will have a post that details the site’s launch plan.
Second, if you have questions, please ask! We’re here to help you know as much as possible about the website.
Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash
In March we asked for your help in choosing a design direction for Trinity’s new website. In this entry we recap what we heard from the Trinity community, we share which design direction we chose, and we again ask for your input into the design.
What We Heard from You
More than 70 people from across the Trinity community took the time to consider the two design concepts, and they sent us their incredibly thoughtful feedback about what they saw and experienced. Respondents included faculty, staff, students, alumni, and a few unknown folks.
If we were keeping score (we were!), most respondents favored Design Concept One. In fact, Design Concept One was three-and-a-half times more favored than Design Concept Two. Here is a selection of reasons people cited for liking Design Concept One:
- A focus on imagery
- More visually pleasing
- Easy on the eye and welcoming
- Intuitive navigation and cleaner design
- Less scrolling
- Clear what the user is supposed to do to find information
- Accurately conveys the student experience
- Liked the equal weight to Programs, People, Places, and Pride
- Liked the background/atmospheric video
- Vibrant and engaging
Not everyone loved what they saw, though. Here is a selection of reasons people cited for disliking Design Concept One:
- Unsure about the background/atmospheric video
- The design may begin to feel dated sooner
- Moving video is distracting
- Not different enough from other NESCAC school websites
- Top of the page is engaging, but it feels lackluster as you scroll down
- It’s not clear where to find information for alumni
- Too much use of color
The use of color in both designs was an issue for some respondents, enough so that we created a category of responses that deals exclusively with color. Some things that were unappealing to viewers about the colors include:
- Colors are hard on the eyes
- Colors seem to have little to do with Trinity. Can there be more use of blue and gold?
- The colors seem too young and playful, not sophisticated an unified
- The colors don’t seem very Trinity, and some aren’t aesthetically pleasing
- The color palette is jarring and difficult to look at
What about Design Concept Two?
Some of the distinguishing feedback about Design Concept Two included opinions that the design was bold, vibrant, fresh, and easy to navigate. Some respondents liked that Programs was prioritized over People, Places, and Pride. However, the standout negative comments included a dislike for the “dead space” at the top of the page, the amount of scrolling to get to content, and the use of the blended grid showcasing the feature content (People, Places, Pride).
The Result: What Did We Choose?
Let’s cut to the chase: We chose Design Concept One. We arrived at this decision using the feedback from the community at-large, the feedback from the Web Redesign Advisory Group, and the feedback from the Website Redesign Team. Choosing a direction represents a starting point for the design. We were at a fork in the road, and now we have chosen a path. Fastspot has taken our feedback and is using it to build out the design into something that truly fits Trinity.
Round Two: Homepage Design
During the design process, there are three rounds. The second round incorporates the comprehensive feedback from the community, the Web Redesign Advisory Group, and the Website Redesign Team. The third and final version (still to come), will be our final design.
Below is an explanation of the second iteration, and sample images for you to explore. Click on (or tap) any image to open it in a new tab. Click (on desktop) the new image to move in closer and see a full-screen view. The images are static and are for reference; they do not allow interaction.
In this second round, Fastspot has simplified the use of color throughout the entire design to focus more on the Trinity brand and create a more sophisticated look overall. The secondary color palette (the greens, yellows, blues, etc.) is used in smaller details, such as live hovers and swiping animations.
We recognized that the background video can be either highly attractive or a powerful deterrent to visitors. To solve this issue, Fastspot added the ability to play/pause the atmospheric video. It is a subtle addition, and it will be beneficial to accessibility without adding too much clutter to the page.
A new feature to the homepage’s functionality is that we changed how the feature topics (Programs, People, Places, Pride) bump out when selected. In the previous version, they took over the screen, creating a new layer over the homepage. In this version, we requested that they remain on the same layer as the rest of the homepage. In the image below, you can see an example of this. Programs has been selected, and the feature has appeared below the menu and pushed the rest of the homepage down. Users can either mouse-over to the other three menu items (and have the corresponding feature appear), or X-out to make the entire experience accordion closed.
Though we didn’t show the mobile version in the first round of design concepts, here is a look at the mobile version of the design. When feature topics (Programs, People, Places, Pride, etc.) are open, they behave as takeovers. This allows users to control their experience within such limited real estate.
Share Your Thoughts on Round Two
What do you think of this iteration of the design? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment form below. We will conclude feedback this week (April 13).