IT Services Web Site Project
Summary and Scope
During the 2006/2007 year, the ITS Web Site Restructure Project heads toward completion under the name IT Services Web Site Project. The primary remaining goal is to add features and functions to the IT Services department web presence that provide clients with quicker access to ordering tools, help desk assistance, and documentation. Database-generated, cohort-aware service lists and order links will be available from the department’s home page (which will function as a main portal). Other goals include meeting Priority 2 checkpoints under the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and the rollout of a web-based editing tool that will make it easy for IT Services staff to create and update web pages according to department standards.
Schedule and Status of Deliverables
Project Status: complete
- ITS New Web Page Creator (web-based editing tool)
- Catalog & Portal Administration Interface (web-based control panel)
- Service Catalog with Search & Browse Features
(and the power to tailor service lists and news alerts to pre-defined cohorts via WebLogin)
- Redesigned Client-facing Home Page
- Standards-based, Accessible Web Templates & Style Guide
- August 31, 2007 [Completed August 30]: Launch of ITS New Web Page Creator for use by ITS content owners and maintainers.
- June-August, 2007: Evaluation, campus readiness, and site promotion efforts; evaluation of usage, esp. in relation to computing.stanford.edu usage.
- July 19, 2007: Introduce web-based administrative interface to database, allowing adds/removes/edits of service names, descriptions, and links, as well as selection of whether each is displayed only on computing.stanford.edu (non-ITS) or on both computing.stanford.edu and it-services.stanford.edu. View screenshots: main page | updating news items | updating services.
- May 30, 2007: Public release of main portal enhancements (home page, catalog browse and search pages), revised top navigation, and accessibility-related style sheet improvements.
- Late January, 2007: IT Services and focused client-group pilot of main portal enhancements and page builder/editor; campus readiness efforts begin.
- November 30, 2006: Web-based page builder/editor ready for testing by DDD members. This iteration includes the following added capabilities: choice of layout (stylesheet), ability to edit breadcrumb navigation, and output HTML code to view (Possibly: Save to AFS Directory).
- November 16, 2006 [Completed January 17]: Stakeholder review of prototype main portal enhancements, including graphic interface, site architecture, and content. Usability testing begins.
- November 15, 2006 [Completed November 30]: Template and stylesheet code modified to meet Priority 2 accessibility standards [see corresponding style guide].
- October 31, 2006: Complete the entry of service names, descriptions, and links into database(s). Reconcile data with source lists (CompComm A-to-Z, IT Services A-to-Z, ITS Services List spreadsheet).
- October 24, 2006 [Completed October 20]: If necessary changes have been made to the CGI service configuration, migrate scripts to AFS space (/afs/ir/dept/its/cgi-bin/mainportal/) and verify that they can be served by the www servers. Separate data tables from other development tables into their own production-ready database. Place scripts under subversion. [dependency: UNIX Applications group]
Monthly Initiative Status Summaries
- (August - 100%) Launched the fully-functional web-based page builder/editor (“ITS New Web Page Creator”) for product managers and other ITS staff use in creating and storing publish-ready, ITS-styled web page drafts and submitting them to DDD for proofreading/editing and release — all with no knowledge of HTML required. Application includes an administrative interface for DDD. Monitored user feedback (anecdotal) on home page and catalog; no interface changes needed. Submitted article about new web site (May 30 release) for upcoming issue of Speaking of Computers. Continued to refine catalog search results performance by entering search keywords and matches based on user search behavior tracked in logs.
- (July - 95%) Launched and demonstrated the fully-functional “IT Services Portal Administration” tool for content managers’ use in maintaining and managing service catalog content, search results, highlighted services, news boxes, etc. Began defining and documenting a workflow process for governing the Portal Administration tool’s use. Identified an organizational need for, and began to develop, a description and mock-up of the IT Services unified client-facing web presence as envisioned for 2010, consolidating front-door access to all continuing services and the web and collaboration add-ons delineated in the ITS strategic plan document.
- (June - 90%) Added feature to service catalog enabling users to hide descriptions dynamically and view services and links in a shorter, more easily scanned format. Continued development and launched functional prototype of the “IT Services Portal Administration” tool for maintaining and managing service catalog content, search results, highlighted services, news boxes, etc. Continued to fine-tune catalog content and search results.
- (May - 85%) Released redesigned IT Services home page, new service catalog with browse and search capabilities, revised top navigation shared across all ITS pages, and accessibility-related improvements to text styling. In collaboration with Application Support, completed a Pinnacle/MySQL/Web integration process/script that ensures Department Contacts are accurately identified as such when logging in to view tailored service catalog pages. Obtained approval for charter revision delaying release of database admin tool and web-based page builder.
- (April - 75%) Released major function/features revision of pilot home and service catalog pages at itstest.stanford.edu. Added the capability to keyword-search service database for descriptions & links, key-matching to prioritize search results, and style sheet changes to improve accessibility. Continued to refine service database contents. Made improvements to labeling and layout of page elements in service catalog pages. Revised and augmented documentation explaining the functions and benefits of the new site. Estimated a delay of the organization-wide rollouts of the administrative front-end for the service info database and the web-based page builder/editor until July 19 and August 31, respectively. An application for charter revision will be filed at the beginning of May.
- (March - 70%) In the database that feeds the “service catalog” list pages, services were assigned to categories to provide home page users one-click access to service lists for the following service groups: help, email & web, software, computers, and communications. Added search functionality to non-WebAuthed views (in development space; to be rolled into pilot in April). Worked on further refinements to service database contents, including the way URLs are labeled and displayed. Continued development work on an administrative front-end for the service info database.
- (February - 65%) Launched home page and service database pilot (internal IT Services, H&S tech support leaders); approximately 60 February tester visits reported on AWStats log analysis service. Worked with Client Support leaders and ad hoc project team members and advisors to refine test/review plan: audience to include select individuals within H&S and ATS, Design Council, and SU Webmasters. Continued development work on an administrative front-end for the service info database; completed report interface to facilitate content review/reconciliation. Worked on further refinements to service database names and descriptions (e.g., reconciling recent months’ changes across production and pilot pages). Revised the IT Services Web Style Guide and began creating user instructions for web page editing tool.
- (January - 60%) Presented current drafts of deliverables to executive team and other stake-holders; received go-ahead approval to initiate home page and service database pilot (internal IT Services, plus select departments within H&S) and web-based page builder/editor pilot (internal IT Services only). Refined home page design and created layout/stylesheet for database-generated second-level pages. Worked with Client Support leaders to establish service cohort rankings for database.
- (December) Designed, coded, and debugged new home page graphics, layout, and information structure. Continued development of web-based page builder/editor and service database.
- (November) Continued development of web-based page builder/editor, adding the ability to edit sidebar and breadcrumb content and to add and re-order main content sections. Modified global template and stylesheet code to meet W3C Priority 2 standards for universal accessibility; completed new version of Style Guide to support accessibility changes. Portal features: added Department IT Contacts to cohort groups for which service and order lists/views/searches can be customized. Database QC: Worked with Client Relations director to improve the accuracy and comprehensiveness of service names, brief descriptions, and links. Reassessed needs and expectations around the graphic characteristics of the "front" pages of the site; decided to expand the scope of graphic design objectives in order to present for stakeholder review look-and-feel options that share more of the characteristics of analogous commercial/corporate sites and portals.
- (September, October) Refined technical objectives, including a new goal of meeting W3C content accessibility guidelines. Began working with OMR, Pinnacle, and Self-Help KnowledgeBase team members to assure compatibility of strategic goals among these projects. Continued development of web-based page builder/editor. Migrated scripts that will drive main portal features to production space in /afs/ir/dept/its/cgi-bin/mainportal/, verified their compatibility with recent Web and CGI infrastructure upgrades, and placed them under version control. Consolidated service names, descriptions, and links into a single database; reconciled this information with source documents and identified discrepancies.