Hannon Hill Cascade Server selected as CMS
As recommended by the Web Advisory Committee, a RFP was issued to secure a Content Management System (CMS) that could be used in developing and maintaining the central site. Among the key considerations:
The RFP was posted through the state purchasing system on Aug 31. Five vendors replied to the RFP and those responses were reviewed by members of the committee's technology subcommittee. This group included staff from Public Affairs, ITD and RMIS. Following discussion and a product demo, the subcommittee selected Hannon Hill Cascade Server. Cascade Server has been a popular choice among colleges and universities. According to a July 17 press release, more than 19 new higher education institutions have opted for Hannon Hill this year including Clemson, Brandeis, Missouri-Columbia and others. The product was also favorably reviewed by references at Duke, Carnegie-Mellon and Gonzaga.
- the selected system (and pricing model) be scalable to allow for additional campus users
- integration with the university portal system and server environment
In addition to aiding in development and updating of sites, a CMS will play a critical role in ensuring that sites are compliant with HTML/XHTML Web standards recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This is key in light of the fact that only 14 percent of U.S. News & World Report's top-ranked colleges are considered to be compliant.
Though being finalized, initial plans are for the system to be installed within the next 3-6 weeks. The CMS will be used in development of the central site and in testing on select sites developed by ITD and Creative Services. A larger-scale roll-out for other campus users is intended after initial testing at a date to be determined. ITD staff and the Help Desk will be trained to support campus users and developers interested in using the CMS system.
Additional designs requested
In response to the focus groups conducted on Aug 31, the Web Advisory Committee requested some additional revisions be made to the two design concepts that were favored by the focus group participants. In making the changes and adjustments, Ripple Effects felt that one of the concepts was just not effective in differentiating NC State or in communicating key brand components identified in earlier strategic recommendations.
Ripple recommended focusing on one design concept (which was the top choice in the focus groups) and making some additional changes. This design was reviewed by the committee during a meeting on Sept 27. Following lengthy discussion, the committee recommended asking Ripple to make some additional revisions to the concept, including "opening" up the design to make it feel more warm, friendly and approachable. In addition, the committee recommended having Ripple provide two additional design concepts that reflected some of the overall feedback discussed during the review. The revised and additional concepts will be reviewed by the committee during a meeting the week of Oct 25.
In addition to the design discussion, the committee also reviewed a revised site map, navigation structure and content outline. A subcommittee group took a closer look at the content outline on Oct 4. This group included representatives from various Colleges, Public Affairs, News Services, Registration and Records, and Undergraduate Admissions. Further input was solicited from the student representatives on the committee.
Individual meetings are scheduled with the following groups to discuss "central" content being developed for the site -- Parents and Family Services, Office of Diversity and African-American Affairs, Research and Graduate Studies and Office of Extension, Engagement and Economic Development. A group of students will also provide further input.
Upcoming meetings that are planned to discuss the project include Faculty Senate (Oct 24), Student Senate (date TBD) and a planned open forum with campus web developers (date TBD). If you would like to arrange a meeting with your unit/group please email us.