When my family and I lived in the same house for eleven years, we accumulated a lot of stuff that had either become outdated or was just no longer useful. When we moved recently, it was a painstaking task to go through all of our possessions (do we really need two lobster shaped platters?).
Redesigning a website necessitates a similar process if it is to be done well, especially one that has not been updated in 11 years. The content needs to be reviewed to see where it belongs in a new design and reevaluated to determine its continued relevance, taking a number of stakeholders into consideration.
I'm happy to note that my new house is less cluttered, more well designed and better organized, which makes life more enjoyable than before. We hope that the end result of the www.psu.edu and live.psu.edu redesigns will accomplish similar experiences for those who visit the sites.
As the holiday break approaches for all of Penn State, the Polaris Team has been working diligently on the push toward the Grand Relaunch of www.psu.edu and live.psu.edu. An incredible amount of work has taken place, and yet so much still needs doing before that final, "ta da!" moment.
The final graphic designs for both the Main (www.psu.edu) and News (live.psu.edu) sites were determined by the Creative Team with the help of Design Review Committees.
Usability studies are being utilized to help inform decisions about what content standardization may be needed during the reorganization of site information. During this process new content continues to be produced while prior news stories are retagged. Working groups formed to discuss newswire delivery and news APIs. Thanks go to the Content, News and Research Teams for moving these processes forward.
The Technical Team built the Development environment and is creating a committee for User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Phase2 Technology installed Drupal 7 and modules into the Development environment, completed Sprint 3, and moved on to begin Sprint 4.
The Engagement Team continues to plan for: communicating pre-launch training dates to content creators; promoting forthcoming rebuilt websites and soft launch testing process; providing communications to ensure a successful transition of the old websites to their new versions.
The Training Team began working on the training approach that will be used in January.
Discussions and recommendations around how to best use analytics going forward was continued by the Analytics Team.
- The Analytics Team will continue the web analytics discussion
- The Content and News Teams will have the technical capacity to begin entering content into the Drupal CMS soon. They will continue creating content for the new www.psu.edu and transitioning newly created stories to the News site database
- The Creative Team will continue working with Phase2 to make any graphic design refinements for both sites as Phase2 proceeds with its Drupal theming process
- The Engagement Team will continue refining its pre- and post-launch plans
- The Technical Team will finish building the Staging/Production environment for the sites
- The Training Team will have the ability to begin training content creators and editors on how to enter content into the Drupal CMS. This will be an ongoing process that will carry well into January.
- Phase2 will come to State College to demo Sprint 3 and will install Drupal and its modules on the Staging/Production environment. They will conduct a train-the-trainer session with the Training Team and conclude building Sprint 4. They will also continue theming the new sites based on the graphic designs, and begin building Sprint 5.
- A User Acceptance Testing (UAT) Committee will begin testing the sites across many fronts, including graphic design, responsive web design, accessibility, browser standardization, content accuracy and content entry. This process will continue in various formats until the Grand Relaunch.
All of us on the Polaris Team would like to wish you and yours all the best for the holiday season and throughout the new year. Thank you for your continued interest in this project.