Integrated Web Platform
Why does Site Builder need to be replaced?
UC ANR’s web presence currently consists of over 700 websites. Some are high quality and well-maintained, but the overall web presence is inconsistent, and it is difficult to find what UC ANR has to offer in any given subject area. UC ANR’s home-grown Site Builder web platform is outdated, presents design limitations, and is built on Adobe’s aging and proprietary ColdFusion platform.
UC ANR’s web infrastructure needs to be redesigned in alignment with industry best practices - a modern cloud-based technology platform, a taxonomy-driven content strategy, and a unified branding strategy.
Simply put, Site Builder needs replacement due to:
- Aging technology with security challenges, maintenance issues, and poor user experience that lags behind industry standards
- Lack of a content model with no consistent standards for content organization, management and branding, and many redundant and outdated pages and sites
This revamped web presence will better serve key stakeholders within all sectors, including the general public, researchers and educators in academia, collaborative innovators in other government entities, and the commercial entities, large and small, that daily manage our vast agricultural and natural resources across the state.
What is the IWP? More than a website redesign!
The Integrated Web Platform (IWP) project will modernize the UC ANR web platform; organize the division’s educational information and make it more discoverable via proven, taxonomy-driven content strategy principles; drive increased engagement with UC ANR’s programs, services and fundraising efforts; bring an appealing, modern, user-friendly design to the Division’s web presence; and, in later phases, improve the organization and discoverability of internal-facing (UC ANR employee) information. This is not a website redesign, it’s a transformation of our entire web ecosystem. It will take time but will continue to grow!
This revamped web presence will better serve our key stakeholders, including the general public, researchers and educators in academia, collaborative innovators in other government entities, and the commercial entities, large and small, that daily manage our vast agricultural and natural resources across the state.
The IWP content management system is Drupal, a modern system used to build, publish, and manage dynamic web content. It is widely used by universities and businesses.
At a high-level for this initial phase:
How will the IWP benefit UC ANR?
- Resolvers technical issues and provides stability with modern technology
- Improves discoverability and availability of UC ANR content and knowledge
- Provides structured content model for better organization (makes it easier to find!)
- Facilitates outreach with members of the public
- Advanced search in the content hub
- Promotes UC ANR branding consistency
- Consistent structure and framework with dynamically displayed content instead of hundreds of difficult to maintain bespoke pages
- Content curation and standardized tagging instead of unlimited and unmanageable tags
- Provides e-Commerce opportunities (later phases)
- Provides an employee portal instead of cluttering our externally-facing site with internal information (later phases)
What is the current status of the project?
We are working with the UC Davis IET team to lead the development of the IWP project initial phase and focus on the foundation. Our collaboration with UCD to roll out the project in a number of sprints (short periods of time wherein a development team works to complete specific tasks, milestones, or deliverables) is agile and has gotten the project on the right track. As part of each sprint, progress will be shared on this Progress Tracker.
The IWP Steering Committee, made up of representatives from across UC ANR, will evaluate and sign off on the deliverables.
What to expect during the conversion from Site Builder
- Conversion from Site Builder will happen in phases once the core structure is built. The conversion work is targeted to begin once the project go/no-go decision is made by the Steering Committee; this date may change if there are unanticipated issues with development.
- Site Builder pages are not structured consistently, so some manual review will be required to migrate the content; not all content will be able to move, in its current format, into the new platform.
- Content needs to be appropriately tagged to be published and findable in the new web ecosystem.
- Documentation to provide more insight and details on the conversion will be made available as the final details are worked out.
- Like any major system change, there will be challenges and manual fixes will be needed. Please be patient and flexible, and email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to a member of the core support team when you need help (Kit Alviz, Rose Hayden-Smith or the IWP trainer (in recruitment).
Will my website in the IWP offer all the functionality I currently have in my website?
The project will address specific needs and enhancements in phases. The first development phase will establish a stable, solid foundation from which we can build out enhancements that align to the content strategy.
What can I see now?
- A proof of concept (PoC) website can be access by going to iwp.ucanr.edu which allows you to get a sense of the future state.
- This will show some of the key concepts for IWP, but please note it not complete functionality and uses sample content.
How will I be supported during the IWP project?
- Weekly orientation meetings will be scheduled to offer project information and guidance, targeted to begin July 2022.
- A full-time trainer (in recruitment) and a contractor will support staff during the conversion and in learning to use the new system
Will every piece of content need to be loaded into the IWP?
As part of the IWP content strategy, not everything should exist in the new site. Please remove redundant or outdated content from your sites. Additionally, the IWP platform is not a content archive. If you are interested in creating an archive of your old content, please reach out to Emily Lin who oversees the UC Merced CARA archival project.