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An aerial view of the University campus overlooking the Admin building, taken in Fall 2016.

Building a better umanitoba.ca

Next Generation Web Experience project leads us to the digital future

October 2, 2018 — 

The last time the University of Manitoba made a major change to umanitoba.ca, the Jets were still Thrashers and the Active Living Centre hadn’t broken ground.

The internet has changed substantially since umanitoba’s last major design improvement in 2010 and as a result, umanitoba.ca has not kept up to the expectations of our users – prospective students, current students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

However, the project to build a better umanitoba.ca is underway.

The Next Generation Website Experience (NGWE) strives to change both the website and the way we all communicate with the U of M. With a phased roll-out starting in mid-2019, the NGWE will touch all aspects of the user experience.

“The goal of the project is to create a strategic communications tool for the whole university,” says John Kearsey, Vice-President External Relations and project board chair. ” We want to create a web presence that shares important information effectively across a wide variety of devices, and showcases the many stories of the University of Manitoba and our community.”

A cross-functional project team has been created with representation from IST, MCO, and HR, and in the fall 2017, the U of M partnered with Domain7, a digital design firm with extensive experience working in the higher education sector.

Over the past year, the project team has met with over 500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and donors, learning more about their needs for our website. Work has begun on foundational aspects such as information architecture and solution design since the new site improvements will go far beyond just aesthetics. Improved accessibility, mobile responsiveness, and the ability to evolve with changing technology are all integral to the project.

Another part of the NGWE is the implementation of a new content management system. Drupal, an open-source platform, has been chosen as the new content management system to replace RedDot. Drupal is a popular content management system for universities and is widely used across the U15 and at top colleges in the US. Drupal will allow authors to easily update content and customize their sites with additional functionality to meet specific requirements.

Have questions about the Next Generation Web Experience? Contact ngwe [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

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