The New Website is Live

The New Website is Live

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
Close to Launch—Here is What You Need to Know

Close to Launch—Here is What You Need to Know

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)
  • News
  • Events
  • 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.

Final Design and Prepping for Launch

Final Design and Prepping for Launch

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.

 

Homepage template
A typical internal page template
A landing page for a department or office
News articles listing
Completed Design

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