A Few New Web Projects

We had a busy summer working on the new inHope and new Athletics website and app, but we’ve also had a handful of fun projects this fall that we’d like to share with you.

  • Dining Menus: we worked with Dining Services to introduce an entire new website for their area that also features new dining menus. The new menus were created and are completely managed within Google Calendar and allow the dining staff to maintain and update their daily menus easily and while on the go. The menu content is pushed out to their website as well as the display screens in the dining halls automatically and in real time. We’ve also introduced a new set of allergen icons.
  • EMS: many of you use EMS to reserve rooms around campus throughout the year. We gave the Virtual EMS interface a bit of a branding refresher and an overall clean and sleek look.
  • Tickets: our online ticket platform, Webtix, also got a branding update to match our hope.edu tempalate. The new tickets.hope.edu is now responsive and mobile friendly.
  • Admissions Rep Finder: We’ve had an “Admissions Find Your Representative” feature on our website for a while, but the data and files associated with it have had to be manually updated each time a change occurred. The new Admissions Rep Finder is now connected to our institutional Banner data, so updates and changes are made automatically.

Letting go is never easy

One of our goals in transitioning to our new website is to make Hope’s website smaller. There was too much information on our old site, and that just makes it harder for our users to find what they’re looking for. It’s time to slim down.

But that isn’t always easy to do. We’ve gotten used to doing something just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. We’re attached to it. We disagree about what’s actually important to our audiences.

Here are a few questions to help assess your content:

1. Does my audience actually need this information?

Sometimes we put content on our website because it’s important to us, not because it’s important to our user. If it doesn’t answer a question your audience is actually asking or provide information that’s truly valuable to them, then it shouldn’t go on the website. And remember: You are not your target audience.

2. Does this information already exist elsewhere?

We shouldn’t duplicate content. If a user can access the information somewhere else — the registrar’s or provost’s offices, for example, or the online catalog or event calendar — then we should simply provide easy access to that content. Link to it in a way that makes sense to your user.

3. Does this information really belong somewhere else?

Maybe the content is important to your audience, but it really belongs somewhere else. Sure, that syllabus is critical for the 18 people enrolled in your course this semester — but our public-facing website probably isn’t the best place to put it. (That’s what Moodle is for.) Figure out where it belongs, and let’s make sure it goes there.

Announcing: inHope, the new KnowHope

The new college intranet, which is replacing KnowHope, is now live and available! The new service is called inHope, and can be accessed at in.hope.edu. It is only accessible to individuals who have a hope.edu email account. Features of inHope include: mobile friendly, easy to scan/filter, common links, easy to submit announcements, today’s events calendar, featured news, academic calendar, people search, blog posts, Instagram photos, a survey of the week and more!

Learn more about inHope

  • Mobile friendly: (responsive to every device size)
  • Links: quick access to all of the common links, resources and services you use on a regular basis can be found in the orange navigation bar at the top. Hover over “Resources” to see links for Resources (commonly accessed items), Services (forms and requests), and Safety (emergency guide, incident reports, etc).
  • Content Filters: colored filters can be turned on and off, applying to everything on the page
  • Announcements: tagged announcements can be viewed by clicking the announcement title. A new streamlined submission form makes it easier to submit announcements, which allows you to determine how long you want your announcement to stay on the site. Announcements should include information that pertains to the majority of campus and is not an event (unless you’re previewing your event in advance) and not something already covered in an official press release.
  • Featured Story: most days a new item will appear highlighting a big story for the day (news story, blog post, big event, campus photo, etc).
  • Today’s Events: will always show all events happening today. This is showing a direct feed from our campus web calendar. View instructions for submitting an event to the events calendar.
  • Take Note: these boxes will feature various content that is important to take note and may have a longer shelf life than an announcement.
  • Academic Calendar: this will pull a direct feed of the Academic Calendar via a Google Calendar maintained by the Registrar’s Office. You can also subscribe to it and add it to your own Google Calendar.
  • People Search: Employee Search and Student Search both pull the same information as KnowHope People Search did, but now is a filter instead of a search, which returns even quicker results. Employees can be searched by name or by department as well as sorted.
  • Other Services: you’ll also find updated versions of Marketplace, Ride Exchange, Incident Reports and (coming soon) Minutes and Agendas.
  • More: also explore blog posts, Instagram photos, and a fun survey of the week sponsored by the Frost Center!

 

Questions or suggestions? Contact us at inhope@hope.edu.

Introducing Websmith

A while back we launched Websmith, a new users’ group for people who actively manage web content in OU Campus. For those of you who couldn’t make our first meeting, here’s a quick introduction to what we’re trying to accomplish.

Please join us at an upcoming meeting! You can sign up online to express interest.

OBJECTIVE

To connect campus users who develop, edit and maintain content in OU Campus and equip them to effectively represent Hope College online.

GOALS

  • Connect with OU Campus users in other departments and offices
  • Participate in focused learning about OU Campus and/or web content
  • Celebrate success of group members and other departments, offices and programs (e.g., showcase new websites, highlight new concepts or ideas)
  • Identify and share best practices, tips and tricks
  • Express pain points and identify solutions to common problems

ELEMENTS

1. Monthly meetings

Here’s a sample agenda:

1 p.m. — Mingle
1:10 — Announcements; celebrate success
1:15 — Featured topic
1:35 — Featured topic Q&A
1:45 — General Q&A
1:55 — Dismiss

Upcoming meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday of the month (generally) at 2 p.m. in the DeWitt Herrick Room. Here are the dates:

  • September 6
  • October 4
  • November 1
  • December 6
  • January 3
  • January 31
  • March 7
  • April 4
  • May 2

2. Online community

For now, look for additional information right here on the Public Affairs and Marketing blog. You can find it with the new Websmith category. If you’re looking for an easy way to get updated with every new Websmith posts, please subscribe.

Eventually, we’ll put some work into developing a robust online community, including easy access to digital resources, training videos and other material.

3. Additional training

We’ll spend some time at each meeting with in-depth training. In our last meeting, we covered those pesky images — how to upload them and size them for your page and how to create and use new photo gallery assets.

Potential topics for future meetings include:

  • Using assets and snippets
  • Editing images outside of OU Campus
  • Creating video for the web
  • Grammar and style
  • Making workflow work for you

Of course, we welcome your suggestions!

The New KnowHope

Many of us have relied on KnowHope for our daily information during much of the site’s existence, which premiered in 1996. We’re excited to announce that we’ve been working on a “new KnowHope” to serve as the next generation of our college intranet. It will feature a new name and design, offer new functionality, and introduce a streamlined process for submitting information.

We’re planning to launch this refreshed service to coincide with the new academic year, but we would like to give you a sneak peek of the new site before it goes live.

You’re invited to a “new KnowHope” presentation this Thursday August 18 at 10am in the DeWitt Center Herrick Room. Refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to launching this improved site for our faculty, staff and students and hearing your feedback!

New Library Website

Congratulations to the Van Wylen Library on the launch of their new beautiful website, hope.edu/library.

If you’re interested in learning more, our friend Jon Bandstra at the Library has published a great blog post about the new site and its updates. Check it out!

New OU Campus Assistance

We’re excited to announce two new resources available to individuals who develop, edit and maintain websites in OU Campus!

Websmith

Websmith is a new users group for people who maintain websites in OU Campus. We’ll use it to:

  • Connect with OU Campus users in other departments and offices
  • Participate in focused learning about OU Campus and/or web content
  • Celebrate success of group members and other departments
  • Highlight new concepts or ideas
  • Identify and share best practices, tips and tricks
  • Express pain points and identify solutions to common problems

 

If you’re interested in joining Websmith, sign up online (even if you can’t make the first meetings). We’ll add you to the email list and keep you updated with more information.

Dates

  • Wednesday, July 6, 1 p.m. (Schaap 3101)
  • Tuesday, August 2, 1 p.m. (Martha 240)

 

For the summer, we’ll be using the first hour of our Open OU Labs (see below) for Websmith. We’ll announce meeting times and locations for the fall semester at a later time.

 

Open OU Labs

We’ve blocked out time in a computer lab for you to drop in and ask questions, get help, or simply work on your website with fewer interruptions. I’ll be working in the lab the whole time, and we hope to have a couple of our summer student workers join us, too.

Dates

  • Thursday, June 23, 8 a.m.–12 p.m. (Schaap 3101)
  • Wednesday, July 6, 1–5 p.m. (Schaap 3101)
  • Tuesday, July 19, 8 a.m.–12 p.m. (Schaap 3101)
  • Tuesday, August 2, 1–5 p.m. (Martha 240)
  • Thursday, August 18, 1–5 p.m. (Martha 240)

 

There’s no need to register — just show up with your questions!

On Wednesday, July 6, and Tuesday, August 2, the first hour of each open lab will be used for Websmith.

New Features of the New Website

If you guys are anything like me, you’ve never really paid a ton of attention to the Hope website. In fact, as a freshman (three whole years ago now!) I found myself getting confused between KnowHope, KnowHope Plus, and the regular Hope website because they all looked so incredibly similar to me. But within the last year or so, the Hope site has been slowly undergoing a huge makeover.

As an intern for the Office of Public Affairs and Marketing, I’ve watched the website go from slightly dated and difficult to navigate to a modern and helpful space for students to get the information they need. Because the old design was a bit more challenging to surf through, I was unaware of all the amazing features our site already had, as well as the new additions that make it even more connected to the student body.

One of my favorite things about the new site is the news section. Essentially the News section is one big calendar that posts various press releases about campus happenings, as well as features students’ Instagram, Twitter and blog posts about the college. It’s shocking to me how many students don’t even realize their posts are featured on the site, simply because they’re unaware of what the News section is. We try and feature as many different students and student groups as possible, so you never know who you may see on the site! It’s a fun and unique way to open the communication door between students and the college.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 3.39.38 PM

Another feature that has become a lot more student-friendly is the events section of the home page. This section not only lays out all the upcoming events for the week, but also provides a photo of the building where the event will take place. This works to benefit prospective students, who may not know where, say, Lubbers Hall is. It also reminds current students of the many opportunities for learning and growth that Hope continually offers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-02 at 3.38.00 PM

These are just a couple of the features our new site boasts, and the more I navigate through the site, the more I find. I recommend students of all kinds, whether prospective, underclassman, or upcoming seniors, to spend some time on the site and become familiar with all it has to offer. You never know when it may come in handy!

New employee photos

What’s so newsworthy about new employee photos? We take new photos every August, right!? Well, for 2016 we decided to shake things up a bit.

For several years, our employee photos have been done in a consistent style. The background featured familiar “clouds” in natural hues and a vignette framed a closely cropped smiling face. Since our rebranding a few years ago and the launch of the new web site last fall, it seemed time to refresh the style of the faculty and staff photos, as well!

We partnered with Jon Lundstrom of Junebug Photography for the makeover. A more modern gray backdrop, friendly pose and catchlights make for an engaging image. Additionally, we’re shooting these photos so we can see more of you — from about the elbow on up.

We love the difference in Chris Bohle’s photo:

chris_bohle2

This summer we have scheduled multiple photo sessions for employees so that everyone has the opportunity for an update. All photo sessions take place in the DeWitt Center Lounge from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Bring your smile and join us!

  • Tuesday, June 28
  • Thursday, July 21
  • Thursday, August 25

New sites for departments, offices and programs

As we enter the summer months, we know many departments and offices on campus have told us they intend to spend this time working on their new websites. This is great news and we’re here to help and support you! We’d also like to congratulate the 20+ departments, offices and programs who have already launched their new sites throughout this past academic year. Here’s a full list: