csd7: journey to content management

trying valiantly to wake up. had a mocha this morning, because I knew there was no way I’d make it through the morning otherwise. not a very *good* mocha, but it’s helping.

she has an excellent speaking style, is working to engage the audience: hand-raising, questioning.

they were all self-publishing, fully decentralized, even more than us, it sounds like.

first position created in ’99, just before that they created an advisory committee, organized their self-publishers, and then ownership of the Web went to college relations. same sort of “partnership” that we have w/IT. directors/dept heads were the default contacts for web sites, but could delegate.

she has pretty good slides for powerpoint. still bullet points, but also cute pictures, occassional slides with big quotes.

then they added more staff: maintenance person & graphic designer. they were in our stage, with the web office doing custom subsites for lots of different departments. slow turnaround, problems with maintenance.

faculty tech support center was doing training in lots of stuff, little training sessions. a lot like our lava java. they formed a partnership. (maybe we should do that.)

did a survey among developers: 0% always referred to their web standards; 19% edited pages less than once a semester; 20% not familiar with the ADA. (and that’s a *big* deal in new york state.) 10-course training program. (I’d like to see the full survey results, maybe do something similar with our various folks.) “webmaster training program” list of curriculum, some tech, some design, some standards stuff. very cool listing, reminds me of some of the things I’d put in my dream web design curriculum. I want to find out more!!! could take a year & a half to go through the whole program, they cut it in half with their new CMS — oh, writing for the web is the first, and mandatory class.

training meant that they got to spend a lot of time with their distributed publishers, built community. no more “over my dead body”. their focus with CMS was templates, being able to create a new site in a day. I think she just lost her train of thought. 🙂

evaluated 9 packages. Ingeniux was their choice, looks like Outlook, form-based editing.

implementation. 8 designs, 4 dept, 4 office, developed in coordination with clients. many months for implementation. picked beta testers to work through designs. (I wonder if I could start with the pieces I did for Brian B. & the faculty sites.) outsourced the CSS work. tried to keep good communication, esp. with launch dates, etc. named the designs.

tight, simple designs. content-focused, at least what I can see from here.

fun kickoff with food! beta-testers were there as representatives. short training sessions post-kickoff. constantly talking up the new system.

selling the cms. easy, short (cool?) URLs, default sites available. “database feeds”?

question: resistance? no, not really; she’ll come back to that. those people haven’t confronted her. not running off to take the template class, but….

(just looking at it, I’m not seeing the templates in a lot of the academic departments…oh, hey, RSS feeds!)

less than half have adopted since the end of March. what can they do to get better adoption? (37 out of 77 sites are in CMS) switching to templates/CMS means they can focus on the actual content, esp. in their training, but also in support. moved their main site to the CMS too.

q: I couldn’t hear it; custom templates? not at this point, but they’re willing to be flexible. listen, take it all in; if it warrants a special site, sure; can do all that, or it can be done today! (using existing templates)

q: how complex are the sites? tried to make it flexible. max depth is 3 levels, had a few problems but it’s an opportunity to have a content consultation to actually improve the contents so it doesn’t need too many levels. templates are designed to look good either with long lots-of-content pages or with short low-content pages.

q: database? system doesn’t have its own database, but hooks into Oracle. (I can barely hear the questioner.)

q: what web metric package? Urchin. (she’s going to cover that at the 10 am system.)

q: what about offices with good developers? still have self-publishing, not a mandate to use cms. how many self-pub vs. cms? half and half; a handful are doing good work, but they still have people who probably should switch. (I’d be curious about those people and how they are approaching them.)

q: 8 months: how much was template design, how much to get workflow? not using workflow now, tho the package allows for it. content remains an issue, fixing mistakes, etc. doing more consultation work with content vs. design. css took about a week. needed vendor support to get templates working? no, not really; get good support, but it’s more of a discussion. creating/evolving the designs took the most time, not the actual creation. they were working with mockups initally.

q: cost? can’t talk about it, but reasonable. (wtf is reasonable?)

q: navigation & info arch in Ingenuix? start with default sites with basic navigation, works for most departments. (really?) can add stuff if they want to. for Susan, it never matches a basic set, a lot of things are specific to each office, how do you deal with that? and yeah, in *offices* it is that way, but office adoption is higher than department adoption. flexibility seems to be working for them. the dummy site for offices is very, very generic.

q: can’t hear…does the non-CMS stuff get isolated in search & other ways? still one community, not providing disincentives. doing more highlighting with CMS people, focusing on incentives.

another question I couldn’t hear. hm, she sends (sent?) a monthly email newsletter. I should go back to my quicktips idea. I don’t know what the question was, but she’s talking about trust and comfort.

q: non-CMS sites — are you going after them? targeting people with no presence or damaging presence. “have you heard of our templates?” handful of people who have no sites, but stuff going on, or same deal with very out of date sites.

q: cross-platform? yes, works on Mac too, with download/plugin.

this was the best session so far.