Web site launches…so far so good!

On Saturday we unveiled the new face of the CWU web site. With more than 180,000 pages, the old web site was just too vast to update page by page. Instead, we started over.

David Matayoshi, Teri Olin, and the Public Affairs graphics folks went to work to create a fresh look that includes functions and features that are now standard (“breadcrumbs,”  consistent navigation from page to page, a filterable calendar, intuitive search, etc.) We also tried to emphasize features of CWU that set us apart from other schoosl:

  • the wonderful place that is the Kittitas Valley – mountains, rivers, historic communities, and our own beautiful campus
  • our emphasis on experiential learning – a hands-on approach to teaching and learning that is made possible by small class sizes and curriculum taught almost exclusively by professors.
  • our impressive graduates who have found their education at CWU prepared them for interesting and successful careers.

Jesse Days, Xinbao Wang and their fleet of programmers–Marc, John, and Alex, and a dozen students–immersed themselves in the translation of graphic design to website reality. They migrated more than 50 web sites into the new environment by December. We have launched about 20 and many more are nearly ready to go in the next “wave.” Thanks to Xinbao for helping design an intuitive search function and a calendar we can sort by event type–truly a Christmas miracle.

We used a free content management system called Drupal. It’s flexible, functional, and allows non-programmers to update web content. That’s the good news. But getting it started was no mean trick. Thanks to Jason, Larry, Chris and the rest of the network gang for creating jillions of individual “rooms” for each individual university web page in the giant CMS house (this is how I think about it any way….).

The fabulous networks staff went to work Saturday morning, testing and switching us over from our test environment to the real thing. So far so good. We’ll continue migrating relevant content–not all 180,00 pages–throughout the coming year and celebrate next Dec. when it’s all done……..and we can start thinking about the next update!




About Linda Schactler

Linda is the former Director of Communications for the Washington State Senate, and former deputy director of the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board. From 2000 through 2010 Linda was the proprietor of Schactler Communications, an Olympia-based public affairs business. She holds a master of arts in English literature from Washington University in St. Louis. Linda can be reached at her Ellensburg office schactler@cwu.edu, 509-963-1384, or on her cell phone, 509-607-4103.
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