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Next Generation Web Experience: Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: August 1, 2019

The following frequently asked questions have been compiled from feedback we have received from the U of M community about the NGWE project. These questions will be updated regularly as the project progresses.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Contact ngwe [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

WHAT IS THE NEXT GENERATION WEBSITE EXPERIENCE PROJECT?

The Next Generation Website Experience (NGWE) is an initiative to create a modern, user-focused umanitoba.ca for the entire university community.

Benefits of the new umanitoba.ca will include:

  • User-centred design, improving navigation and search
  • Responsive design, supporting mobile users
  • An accessible experience
  • New visual design along with a framework for a common look and feel around the site
  • Improved performance management and measurement capabilities
  • Improved web capabilities through a modern Content Management System (CMS), Drupal

Our website is the University’s most important communication tool, it’s the first impression of the University of Manitoba. Our current website was designed when websites were just for sharing information and can no longer meet user’s expectations for a great online experience due to its age.

WHO IS LEADING THE PROJECT?

The NGWE project sponsor is John Kearsey, Vice-President (External) and the project executives are Lori Yarchuk, Associate Vice-President, Marketing Communications and Mario Lebar, Chief Information Officer. Members of the NGWE project board include:

  • Jeff Adams, Student Affairs
  • Greg Bak, Faculty of Arts
  • Doug Brown, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
  • Christine Cyr, Indigenous Engagement
  • Jay Doering, Research and International
  • Kyra Fanning, UMSU as of May 1, 2019
  • Adam Gerhard, IST
  • Paul Lacap, MCO
  • Ben Li, Faculty of Science
  • Lisa O’Hara, Libraries
  • Ruth Shead, Indigenous Engagement
  • Darlene Smith, Human Resources (HR)
  • Ehsan Tahmasebian, UM Graduate Students’ Association
  • Mark Torchia, Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
  • Reg Urbanowski, College of Rehabilitation Sciences, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences
  •  

Thank you to Carl Neumann, UM Graduate Students’ Association and Owen Black, UMSU VP External for their support and contributions while serving on the board.

WHEN WILL THE NEW UMANITOBA.CA LAUNCH?

You will see the new website when you wake up on August 8, 2019.

HOW ARE WE TRANSITIONING TO THE NEW WEBSITE?

The NGWE project contains five phases. We are currently in phase 3.

Our approach has been to focus on the university’s strategic priorities, transitioning to the new website in a gradual staged approach.

On Thursday, August 8 we will reveal phase one of the new site, reflecting a select number of top level pages. 

Following the initial launch we will gradually migrate content in stages. Faculty and department web content will move to the new website over the next 18 months.

As we transition, RedDot and Drupal will run in tandem.

Following is a tentative release schedule with Release 1 being migrated in the fall of 2019. This is a draft schedule. The project team will work with each unit to refine the release migration plan.

RELEASE 1 RELEASE 2 RELEASE 3
Agriculture Law Health Sciences
Architecture Health Sciences Arts
Ancillary Services Asper Engineering
External Relations Faculty of Music The Centre
KinRec School of Art IST
Indigenous Engagement (o/s) Social Work  
Grad Studies (o/s) Education and Extended Education  
Student Affairs (o/s) Research (o/s)  
RELEASE 4 RELEASE 5 RELEASE 6
Health Sciences Health Sciences Health Sciences
Arts Environment Human Resources
Colleges Legal Administration
  Institutional Analysis  
OVERFLOW
Libraries
Research Centres
Science

HOW DO WE STREAMLINE THE LARGE VOLUME OF CONTENT ON OUR EXISTING WEBSITE?

Reducing the volume of content on umanitoba.ca will improve the user experience. There is content for a variety of audiences including students, prospective students, researchers, alumni, staff, retirees, the community and many more! To better meet the needs of all our audiences, the plan is to introduce a protected tool (Intranet) along with our new website, which will be available by the end of 2019.

HOW IS CONTENT FOR THE NEW WEBSITE BEING CREATED AND/OR MIGRATED?

The process for content creation and migration includes the NGWE project team, the Marketing Communications Office (MCO), Information Services and Technology (IST), our campus partners and –– for the Initial Site –– our partner vendor Domain7. After Initial Site launch, and for the duration of the site migration, content creators and quality assurance experts on a newly formed NGWE Site Migration team will be supporting new content creation and migration.

All content created for the website during the NGWE project will be reviewed within the Marketing Communications Office (MCO) and by the respective faculties and units before publication.

HOW HAVE STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF BEEN ENGAGED IN THE PROJECT?

In the last year, more than 1,000 prospective and current students, as well as staff and faculty members, participated in workshops to explore possible website features, information architecture, wireframes, intranet and content lifecycle. In addition, close to 700 participated in online testing on the information architecture with most testers being prospective and current university students.

HOW HAS THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY BEEN ENGAGED IN THE PROJECT?

The project board includes Christine Cyr and Ruth Shead from Indigenous Engagement who have been instrumental in informing direction at each stage of the project. Additionally, Indigenous stakeholders from across campus have participated in many of the NGWE workshops and sessions that have been required for discovery, design and development.

HOW WILL U OF M ENSURE CONTENT IS ACCESSIBLE?

The U of M’s new Content Management System (CMS) is designed to support sites that comply with accessibility standards WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0. Also, accessibility standards will be included in content guidelines to ensure everyone keeps accessibility top of mind when creating web content.

WHO DO I ASK TO MAKE A CONTENT UPDATE?

Feel free to reach out to your contact in the Marketing Communications Office or the site migration team.

WHAT ABOUT TEMPLATES?

The new website is being built using a Design System that includes a large Component Library and guidelines around those components. There will be an ability for units to create pages that align with their specific content needs and priorities. 

WILL A NEW VISUAL IDENTITY BE PART OF THE NEW WEBSITE?

Yes! The new website will launch with an exciting new look and feel.

WHAT WILL REPLACE REDDOT?

Drupal is the CMS that will replace RedDot. Drupal is a popular CMS in the higher education sector, widely used across the U15 and at top colleges in the U.S. Drupal will allow authors to easily update content and configure their sites with additional functionality to meet specific requirements.

WILL DRUPAL CONNECT WITH EXISTING PLATFORMS OR FEEDS?

There are many third-party platforms that are linked from our current website. Some can be easily integrated with Drupal. The NGWE project team will be connecting with faculties and units about third-party integration throughout the project.

IS THERE A BROWSER PREFERENCE FOR DRUPAL?

There is no preference, Drupal works well with any modern browser.

THE NEW WEBSITE IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE IMPROVED SEARCH FUNCTIONALITY BUT THE SEARCH ISN’T WORKING WELL. WHY ISN’T SEARCH IMPROVED?

The search functionality is currently based on Google Search tools which are continually crawling through the internet to find new content. A copy of this content is then saved and used for Search. It often takes a couple weeks for new content to be incorporated into search tools.

WHERE DID PEOPLE SEARCH AND RESEARCH EXPERTS SEARCH GO? WHY IS IT NO LONGER ON THE HEADER?

People Search and Research Experts Search has been moved to the Footer of the main page. This tool has been moved making it still accessible to those who need it while minimizing use by those accessing it to solicit staff and students.

IF I’M A CONTENT CREATOR, HOW DOES THIS IMPACT MY WORK?

The new content management system, Drupal, is easy to use. The transition from Reddot to Drupal will simplify your web content updates and also make is easier for our students and researchers to access information. We ask for you to be patient and keep an open mind on how we can use these tools to best support learning and research as we develop the new content together.

WILL TRAINING BE PROVIDED?

Yes. The NGWE project team is currently developing a training strategy and plan.

HOW AM I SUPPORTED?

Questions, or Feedback: Connect with the project team through NGWE [at] umanitoba [dot] ca

Technical Issues with the Website: for example, error 404 page not found? Please contact the IST Service Desk to report the issue.

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