WebFirst: Overview of the Sept. 26, 2012 meeting

Our September meeting of WebFirst in Davis Hall.

[Big thanks to Beth Juhl for providing these meeting notes.]

Christopher Spencer (UREL) called the meeting to order

He  asked those around the table to introduce themselves; 29 were in attendance.

OmniUpdate Update

Jon Best (UREL) reported on progress. Scott Estes (UITS) has been working away on the installation. Main items left are user configuration; part of that project depends on the Shibboleth authentication project.

Jon indicated that the most recent efforts had focused on IU’s Live Delivery Platform (LDP), plugins for forms, image assets, and comment tools. The most resent webinar training, on the 25th, focussed on LDP.

Jon felt that developers will be pleased with OU and that they will have more control and more options than we had previously (or used previously) with RedDot. There will also be a robust community-driven support site with centrally maintained templates, widgets, etc. as well as options for campus web developers to contribute code and documentation.

WebFirst Site

Christopher Spencer demoed the growing http://webfirst.uark.edu site. Based on WordPress with the BuddyPress addons, WebFirst will replace developer.uark.edu as well as the 3D WordPress site and provide a central web developer site for documentation and networking. Ali Williams (ARSC) designed the header.

Christopher demonstrated how to create a profile on the site, how to create and join interest groups or forums, how to add tags and links, how to set up content alerts for new postings, and other features.

Chris Nixon added that he hoped the site’s audience could eventually extend beyond the core group of web developers to include those across campus who have an interest in using the web to communicate effectively. In addition to documentation and recommendations for best practices, WebFirst should be a place where all questions are welcomed.

UARK Bootstrap

Lane Roberts (UITS) demoed an exciting new CSS framework for form creation. UARK Bootstrap documentation can be found at http://techarticles.uark.edu/webdev.

The group who created UARK Bootstrap had several goals in mind for their project, including:

  • quality user experience
  • easy to use for developers; minimal developer effort
  • compliance with UA style guide and national standards
  • best forms practices
  • preparation for UARK single sign on / central login (Shibboleth)

Their project uses Twitter Bootstrap (http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/) an open source, cross-browser framework.  The framework consists of base styles and offers either  grid or fluid layouts. It is customizable and *mostly* ADA compliant (javascript navigation elements being worked on).

Lane described how to use Bootstrap. There are two CSS files, including drop-down menus that are customizable, layout options, as well as options for error messages and formats, text for labels, etc.

Bootstrap is currently being used for the new PassWeb, Password Manager (https://waprd.uark.edu/web-apps/uits/password/Main) , the Wireless Portal, and Tech Articles. (http://techarticles.uark.edu/), in addition to the UARK Central Login page.

UARK Central Login is an implementation of Shibboleth and will become a single sognon portal for campus.  It is currently being used for Gmail logins as well as research.gov and other research applications. The Libraries are testing Shibboleth.  The beauty of a federated login is that the user’s UARK credentials are not shared with external sites; all authentication is done on local servers. The system is currently in test mode but will be running eventually on idp.uark.edu

Lane encouraged those interested in UARK Bootstrap to check the documentation at http://techarticles.uark.edu/webdev or to email him or the webteam@uark.edu.

New Campus Directory

Chris Nixon asked for feedback on the new campus directory testing at http://www1.uark.edu/directory. He is interested in feedback beyond looks; especially searching functionality and display of results.

He observed that names with many results might be difficult to page through (example http://www1.uark.edu/Directory/?lookfor=smith)

This got the suggestion juices flowing and several of those present commented that they would like an advanced search, fielded search, or search filters to limit search strings to particular fields such as last or first name, etc. The search is a string search.  Teresa Waddell  (ARSC) observed that the phone number search was not working consistently with or without punctuation.

Web Governance

Chris Nixon reopened this conversation, asking what the group’s vision for a structure might be.  He envisions that strategic directions would be determined by a collective, not mandated from the top down.

He commented that the forthcoming Stoner report would have some suggestions (that report, by an external  technology consulting firm, will be released to us soon).

Christopher Spencer pointed out that there is already a group for Web Governance on WebFirst.

The group discussed what the charge of such a group might be, and what kind of structure it should have. Starla Stensass (UITS) suggested that representation should be broad to encourage buy-in from across campus. In the first stages, we should start with those who are interested and then expand after early successes.

Teresa Waddell suggested that a governance group was needed to enforce standards and best practices. This would be especially helpful in the academic departments where staff are not full-time designers or developers or communicators.

Chris Nixon agreed, indicated that both stylistic governance as well as content governance (writing for the web, accuracy, timeliness).

It was decided that a smaller group of this interested in web governance should meet before the next general WebFirst meeting and develop a draft vision for this initiative.

Future Meetings

Chris Nixon suggested that the next meeting might be devoted to the Stoner report findings and suggested action items.

Respectfully submitted,

B. Juhl





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