Information Technology Solutions and University Communications have partnered to bring Drupal and Acquia’s Site Factory service to campus to replace the current system, Omni Update. This new platform seeks to provide a more robust, feature-rich, easy-to-use web solution to eligible sites across campus.
The roll out will also include a new online campus calendar system. Localist, which helps users easily publish, manage, and promote their events, will provide a more centralized tool to promote a vibrant UCR culture.
Both transitions mean that necessary web training could be required in your role to help UCR position itself competitively with contemporaries and other campuses. Make sure you’re familiar with the new look of UCR’s incoming web platform, as well as know what training is available for you and your department’s success:
What is a Content Management System (CMS)? Why move from Omni Update?
A content management system is a software platform that enables both technical and nontechnical users to organize, create, edit, and publish websites. UCR needs a CMS that enables the creation of sites optimized for use with desktop computers, tablets, and mobile devices. This functionality will help to strengthen and enhance UCR’s brand and digital presence.
Omni Update is also no longer sustainable for the campus for a number of reasons. The company’s market share has declined and it’s increasingly difficult to find qualified developers and programmers. In addition, UCR.edu web sites are currently hosted on local servers, which poses a maintenance cost and business continuity exposure for the campus that isn’t acceptable in today’s climate.
Why Acquia Site Factory/Drupal software?
Because Acquia is template driven, it’s designed for rapid deployment. It has been successfully deployed at UC Davis, UCLA, UC San Francisco, and UCOP. Through Acquia, our negotiated pricing is much more competitive than what we could get on the open market.
How can I update my college, department, center, or lab website?
The marketing communications directors within each college/school and administrative unit will serve as Site Factory managers for their organization. In partnership with senior administration, they will review, prioritize, and approve all requests from entities affiliated with their unit. They have access to Site Factory to create development sites through a simple, programming-free process, and assign roles to users who need access to the requested site.
They may assist or direct site architecture/navigation, content creation, site functionality, and branding to ensure consistency and quality across all affiliated sites. In partnership with ITS, they will determine site launch dates. To find out who your Site Factory manager is, please visit http://websites.ucr.edu/eligibility
Administrative units, colleges, and academic departments whose web content is owned by the Regents of the University of California. This also includes campuswide research units, centers, and facilities. Secondary priority includes conferences, campaigns, research labs, and groups.
What types of sites will not be housed on the Drupal platform?
Student websites, personal websites, faculty personal websites, or registered campus organizations. Requests for exceptions can be submitted via the Site Request Form at websites.ucr.edu/request-site
What happens to my old site?
The contract for Omni Update is scheduled to expire on Jun. 30, 2019. All UCR sites built within Omni Update should plan to transition to the new Drupal CMS by or before that date. Sites built in Omni Update that do not meet the transition deadline will continue to exist, but will no longer be editable after Jun. 30, 2019.
In this transition, content contributors are encouraged to think about how they’re presenting their unit to the world. In conjunction with a new layout, copying and pasting existing content might not translate into user-friendly communication. By using a quick and easy content audit as well as other resources available, managers can evaluate their overarching communication goals, primary audience, and main informational needs to be more searchable by unique visitors.
What will the new sites look like?
Over the last several months, ITS developers have undergone Drupal training and are now rolling out templates based on designs created by University Communications. This will allow end users to select from a range of prebranded page layouts into which they can manage content, resulting in responsive pages that will optimize for mobile phones and tablets.
Components of these pages have many offerings, including more aesthetic platforms to convey crucial information. Users can choose between features such as bubble grids, teaser views, statistic grids, and sliders, to name a few. The HTML coding options will also be refined to correct branding colors, and editorial guidelines will be observed. High-quality campus images for use on individual sites are available via One Drive at websites.ucr.edu.
What sort of trainings will be available to me?
Individual academic and administrative departments are encouraged to first contact their respective Site Factory managers prior to initiating training on the new Acquia templates. The list of Site Factory managers and training sessions can be found at websites.ucr.edu.
I’m not a Site Factory manager, but I want to attend an information session:
ITS will begin offering training on the new Drupal platforms to all interested faculty and staff, with the initial session taking place on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at HUB 367. Space is limited, and reservations can be made at websites.ucr.edu
How can I promote my events through a UCR site in the current system?
On Feb. 1, Localist, a robust new online calendar platform, will replace the existing campus events calendar. Localist integrates easily with your existing site and/or Drupal, and is optimized for sharing content across social media channels.
Users identified by University Communications, including Channel Admins, Group Admins, and Event Admins, are now able to log in with their Net ID and password to manage content.
To begin adding events immediately, please visit: ucr.enterprise.localist.com
NOTE: This URL will change to events.ucr.edu on Feb. 1.
If you would like to request access to Localist, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information can be found at websites.ucr.edu.
Will Localist replace the existing calendar on my site?
Localist can support all of your events. It will be the central location for all campus events. Best practice will be to maintain one calendar for discoverability and search-engine optimization (SEO) of your events.
Localist webinars will be available on the UCR Web Resources site, websites.ucr.edu,
as of Jan. 22. University Communications will provide additional training sessions throughout the year. Additional resources can also be found at websites.ucr.edu/localist.