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The Hub: Enhancing Bates’ Official Web Sites

Scope statement – 10/14/09  (Jay Collier)

Purpose

The official Web sites of Bates’ academic departments and administrative offices are important to both visitors and current members of the College community as they contain a range of targeted content — persuasive, informational, procedural — about Bates people, places, ideas, and events. Taken together, these official sites provide a prime opportunity to connect our constituents with each other and with their deeper interests.

To improve these sites, we will select, and lead deployment of, Bates’ next-generation content platform, train and coach users to migrate existing content into it, and then help continuously improve official sites over time, based on our established principles of effective Web experiences.

Since Bates already has over 100 official Web sites visible to the public, the new content platform should be usable right away — each unit should be able, with coaching assistance, to transfer its own site — and also be flexible for custom site renovations in the future.

Objectives

  • Simplify the creation, classification, and publication of content by and about Bates official units
  • Enable deeper engagement and interaction between Bates people based on their own interests by facilitating the exploration and discovery of content, and subscription to updates, via multiple devices
  • Help site editors learn what constituents find relevant and engaging, in order to provide greater opportunities for connecting with Bates through meaningful actions

Milestones

Program planning and management

  • Plan program and manage project team

Select and sustain new content platform

  • Identify and prioritize features and attributes
  • Evaluate, demonstrate, and select software/service(s)
  • Configure and deploy content platform
  • Prototype initial sites and fine-tune configuration
  • Transfer existing sites to new content platform
  • Continuously improve content platform

Establish and sustain site renovation

  • Coach DIY (do-it-yourself) partners
  • Support DIT (do-it-together) projects
  • Produce DFY (done-for-you) sites
  • Integrate enterprise content sources
  • Continuously improve content hub

Project constraints

  • Limited staff and budget
  • Preexisting processes for sites managed in current authoring tools

Risks

  • Expectation of rapid delivery
  • Potential shift of priorities with new Vice President for Communications and Enrollment
  • High level of success, leading to a rapidly growing pipeline of requests for new sites

Progress to date

  • Initiative charged  by VP of College Advancement (9/18/09)
  • Conducted initial outreach with content partners and advisors (10/1/09)
  • Rearchitected content in legacy CMS (10/5/09)
  • Integrated feature requests from multiple sources (10/10/09)
  • Completed initial content inventory (for iCMS) (10/13/09)
  • Completed draft scope statement and proposed milestones (10/14/09)
  • Recommended proposed program team and advisors (10/14/09)
  • Initiative put on hold  (10/16/09)

Next steps

  • Approval of scope statement and program team
  • Kickoff meeting with program team, advisors, and content partners
  • Prioritization of features by team, advisors, and partners
  • Content inventory for the Abacus server

[10/16/09: this initiative is temporarily on hold.]

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