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my UMBC Redesign Project. Emedia Quarterly Meeting October 31, 2002. Overview. Background: Why Redesign? Proposed Process Discussion uPortal Demo. Why Redesign?. Like the web generally, higher ed sites are changing From “presence” to “experience”

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my umbc redesign project

myUMBC Redesign Project

Emedia Quarterly Meeting

October 31, 2002

  • Background: Why Redesign?
  • Proposed Process
  • Discussion
  • uPortal Demo
why redesign
Why Redesign?
  • Like the web generally, higher ed sites are changing
    • From “presence” to “experience”
  • How do we meet internal & external user needs with existing resources?
    • Distribution of Content Management
  • Change in technology presents opportunity to rethink myUMBC’s purpose and process.
changes in higher ed sites
Changes in Higher Ed Sites
  • CASE Circle of Excellence Awards
  • Fewer “institutional” sites seem to be winning awards
  • Trend is toward targeted sites focusing on personalization.
    • 3 of 4 “gold medal” sites didn’t exist five years ago.
    • 9 of all 14 medals focus on personalization
  • Why?
from presence to experience
From “Presence” to “Experience”
  • Past: Provide information
    • Content, navigation, infrequent updates
    • Focus is on designing a web “presence”
  • Present: Deliver services & functions
    • Online registration, pay online, online giving, etc.
    • Focus is on programming & technical engineering
  • Future: Build community & experience
    • Online Learning, SIGs, CMS, BLOGS
    • Focus is on targeted, personalized, frequently updated content
what makes a good site
What makes a good site?
  • If we’re moving toward building community, effectiveness ultimately depends on how a site addresses the information needs of its users AND sponsors.
  • In addition to target audiences (e.g., alumni, current students, faculty, staff, etc.), the stakeholders who support these groups need tools to help manage the content and information their users want.
proposed process
Proposed Process?
  • Fall:
    • Define myUMBC users, stakeholders & needs
    • Explore technology capabilities & portal best practices
  • Winter:
    • Define specifications for shared needs
    • Build and test functional prototype
  • Spring:
    • Refine development, consider pilot release
    • Prepare for launch (documentation, help, promotion)
  • Summer:
    • Launch
    • Milestones/Opportunities: PeopleSoft HR, Orientation
defining my umbc users
Defining myUMBC Users
  • Who are myUMBC’s users or audiences?
  • What information do they need?
  • Who are the sponsors or stakeholders who support these users & needs?
  • What do stakeholders need to support their users?
user feedback strategies
User Feedback Strategies
  • Focus groups
    • OIA Student Marketers (example)
    • OIT Help Desk (example)
    • Graduate Student Association (example)
  • Contextual Interviews
  • Site-based Surveys
  • Prototype Development & Testing
  • myUMBC Web Traffic Analysis
portal best practices
Portal Best Practices
  • “The Power of Portals” Chronicle of H.E.
  • The GW Enterprise Portal Solution Educause 2002 Presentation
  • Charting a Smooth Course for Portal Development Educause Quarterly Article
  • Portal Fundamentals
  • Desirable Features & Priorities (draft)
portal technology build or buy
Portal Technology: Build or Buy?
  • Build:
    • Scarce resources for development AND maintenance.
  • Buy:
    • Vendor solutions (e.g., Blackboard, PeopleSoft).
    • Expensive, tied to vendor’s agenda
another option share
Another Option: Share
  • Open Source: uPortal
  • Pros:
    • Cheap (free)
    • Access to other universities “brainpower.”
  • Cons:
    • Consistency of product support.
    • Customization depends on local knowledge.
uportal demo sites
Uportal Demo Sites
  • California Technology Assistance Project (tutorial, guest acct.)
  • Denison University (different design, demo/guest login)
  • Illinois State University (good preview function)
  • Interactive Business Solutions (clean design, open layout)
  • Rutgers University (nice design, but light on content)
  • University of Kansas Medical Center (demo/guest login)
  • University of Delaware (good demo)

Usability Note: a lot of uPortal sites say “Welcome Guest: Please Login,” but don’t provide any visible means of doing so. Must be a built-in preset developers didn’t turn off.

next steps
Next Steps?
  • Opportunities
    • Honors Parents’ Assoc. Meeting (11/7)
    • OIT Town Hall with SGA (11/13)
    • Alumni Board Meeting (11/14)
    • John’s Web Content Development Class (January)
  • Brainstorming in smaller groups
    • Content & functional specifications
    • Programming & Design
  • John Fritz ( or 410.455.6596)
  • This presentation is available at:
    • The UMBC Emedia Blackboard Site