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Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Apr 1 / Jennifer Di Sano

Wayne State loves bacon

It’s April Fool’s Day, 2014, the one day of the year where you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

The Wayne State Web team hasn’t done anything fun for April Fool’s Day in the last few years and we have a new homepage, so we *had* to do something.

One day while we were out walking on campus, taking a quick break from sitting in front of our computers all day, we started talking about an internet phenomenon re: hiding bacon.

That’s when the idea hit: we could hide Kevin Bacon on our website! After all, there are six degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? If he *is* everywhere he should also be at Wayne State.

One of our graphic designers, Dan Greco, found some stock images of the famous actor and worked them into two of the main photos we have on the homepage. We loved the results and had him work up a few more for April Fool’s Day.

The goal was to be subtle but funny. We think it worked.

 

Mar 6 / Nick DeNardis

Student Center Renovation website: 24 hours from sketch to production

Student Center Website  Recently we were given the task of putting together a website for the Student Center Renovation Project. We knew it was coming but we didn’t have much to go on until the details were approved. On a Thursday we got word everything was approved and set up a conference call to talk requirements, content and images.

Outlining the requirements

After an hour discussion with the client we determined that we had to mirror the messaging/feel of a banner being placed outside on the actual Student Center building. We also determined an initial set of menu items that included: The Project, Visions, Highlights, FAQ and Contact. We had no idea what was going into each of these areas but the task to finalize the content was on the client, so we had to work with Lorem Ipsum.

Sketching exercise

SketchesEveryone in the conference call was then involved in an initial individual sketch exercise. Everyone got 5-10 minutes to sketch one or more ‘wireframe’ layouts of how they perceived the site should be organized. This was a great first step to get designers and non-designers collaborating. Even though everyone was in the same meeting, heard the same questions, responses and decisions from the client, everyone came up with different interpretations of the client’s and project’s needs.

Student Center WireframeOnce the time was up, everyone presented their wireframes and explained why they chose to place elements where they did and how they saw the website working. We talked pro’s and con’s as a group.  In this case everyone agreed all the content could fit on a single long page so we decided to go right to a single wireframe. This time we used a whiteboard so we could draw, move and erase as we worked down the page.

Divide and concur

Once the wireframe was decided upon we split up the tasks to parallelize the work. The tasks broken down:

  • Base CMS and Foundation structure setup
  • Photoshop polished elements
  • Frontend interaction polish
  • Gathering and preparing the assets

Foundation WireframeI started getting the logistics of the base site setup in our CMS, the folder structure on the server and the wireframe mapped out. Once that was in place Tom was able to start working on each section in isolation to get the interaction working so the site functioned with placeholder content. In the meantime, Dan started polishing the design in Photoshop. And lastly, Rolaine worked on gathering, formatting and cutting the images that would be used on the site. We are now about five hours in and things are starting to take shape.

Content creation

While we divided up our work  for the Web, the client and editorial were going back and forth on finalizing and approving the content. This usually starts with Word documents but as soon as the a piece is 80 percent finalized we transition it into its final location in the CMS. This is so it can be edited in the native editor and as we are refreshing the frontend assets we can see real content and how it meshes with the finalizing design.

Putting it all together

Student Center 80 percent doneEight hours in and the elements are starting to come together. The template is now more refined, final content is pulling from the CMS and being updated in real time so we could see and test it within the final site. Assets were polished to ensure pixel-perfect definition and the non-interactive HTML started to get some javascript life.

Adding the interaction layer

Every site we create works for the lowest common denominator browser, basically Google scraping the pages looking for content, links and assets. We then use progressive enhancement to add the style layer of CSS that most users see and browse with. After those foundations are in place we add interaction with javascript. For this project specifically we use Foundation’s ‘top bar’ for the main navigation combined with the ‘fixed’ positioning to allow it to follow the user down the page. We also utilize Foundation’s Magellan to create a ‘smooth’ scrolling effect for the user down the page to the desired content. Add in some alpha transparency on the menu as the user scrolls and it results in what feels like a must more polished experience than just a bunch of static pages that someone has to click through. Lastly, the FAQ’s expand only when needed and the renderings of the floor plans open in lightboxes so users don’t have to leave the page to view them. In order to add the interaction layer efficiently it’s important that everyone can work independently without colliding with anyone else’s work.

The final product

23 hours later the site was ready to be deployed to production. It was tested in all modern browsers and devices, the content was edited several times. The images have been proposed, refined and optimized per device. The open graph, twitter card and other meta data are added. We send the client the signoff and as soon as they are good we run the deploy…

grunt deploy:production

Final Student Center websites

And we’re live! http://studentcenter.wayne.edu/new/

Feb 19 / Nick DeNardis

Redesign: Academic Senate Website

academic-senate-oldacademic-senate-new

We recently launched a redesign of the Academic Senate website.

The previous site was a framed website and managed by hand. Since the site isn’t overly complex that workflow was efficient for a long time. There were a few barriers to that approach, though, and the Academic Senate came to us for help with a solution.

What we came up with is a fully responsive website managed through the university’s central CMS and automatically pulls in data from across campus. A few key features of the new site include:

Built on Foundation 5

As we evolve our responsive approach we have settled on Zurb’s Foundation framework. It is light weight, flexible and allows us to extend it where needed without having it feel like a “Bootstrap” site.

Membership lists using CMS profiles

A big part of the Academic Senate website is broken down into committees and related information. Since the membership of these committees changes over time, and people can be on multiple committees, managing this information can be cumbersome. We transitioned each member into the “profiles” area of the CMS where they can be associated with multiple committees if needed and the information can be managed by the people themselves or by the Academic Senate staff with just a Web browser. They can be updated once and published across the site.

Profile images and content pulling from existing sites

Almost all Academic Senate members already have existing profiles on their school/college/department websites. We didn’t want to duplicate this information so we pull their existing profile information to reduce redundancy. When the member updates their profile, it will automatically update on the Academic Senate website.

Under the hood

A few things you won’t notice is we are standardizing our build process with new sites. We have a Yeoman site generator that we use as a base for each project. Next, we’re using Grunt (soon to use Gulp) as our “build” step to check and compile all assets into their appropriate folders. This not only reduces the initial project build time but also separates source files from their rendered machine optimized results. On that same spirit we have begun to deploy sites in a standard way to speed up the process and reduce the possibility for mistakes.

View the new Academic Senate website at: http://academicsenate.wayne.edu/

Dec 31 / Nick DeNardis

2013 – Web Year in Review

It’s been a long year and we thought it would be good to look back at what we accomplished. We’re a small team, only ten of us full time (including myself), and a few part timers, to maintain 550+ institutional websites. Over the past five years we have used this blog as a platform, when time permits, to give some insight into our work, workload and processes. We have been quiet the last few months and in those months we have experienced the most change to our team, process and the work we produce.

I thought it would be good for myself, and you (of course), to take a look back at the last year to reflect on what we have done and how we have changed. This year we launched 25 sites. That’s one every other week. I have highlighted a collection of the most public sites:

University homepage

Homepage

This year we took on an ambitious redesign project, take six months to reimagine and reconstruct wayne.edu from the ground up. We put a small team together dedicated to this single project and on December 16th they brought us what you see today. I’ll be writing more about the project in 2014 but we now have a website and platform to build the future upon.

Online Directory

directory
With the launch of the new homepage also came a completely online campus directory. Previously the directory was a print document and static Web pages. We worked with C&IT to integrate the data right into the main campus map and then into a completely new “WSU Directory” frontend.

Office of Military and Veterans Academic Excellence

military

Military and Veterans Academic Excellence was a redesign project to bring their website in line with the new capabilities of the office.

Wayne Law

law-school

A complete overhaul of the Law School website and most of its digital communication properties. The new website is people focused and takes advantage of everything Wayne Law is doing.

Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute

mpsi

A few small visual tweaks turned into an almost complete overhaul of the MPSI website. The goal is to use the visual design to build coherence to the Institute of Gerontology.

School of Library and Information Science

slis

Another school where we completely reimagined their online identity. The School of Library and Information Science is much more than just teaching librarians to work in physical libraries. We took that inspiration and designed a website that was information focused and different than any other website we have produced in the past.

10,000 Small Businesses – Detroit

10ksbdetroit

A non-university branded website built to support the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

Office of Economic Development

economicdevelopment

A new website for an office that did not have a Web presence previously. There is a lot happening in Midtown Detroit and the greater downtown Detroit area. This site highlights how Wayne State University is a driving force in the surrounding area.

Office of International Programs

oip

The OIP is an umbrella department that oversees various international programs.

Educational Outreach

educationaloutreach

As the university’s presence outside of main campus evolves so does our Web presence. Previously we had separate websites for each extension center, with this redesign we changed that. We brought all areas outside of main campus into a single website.

Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

iehs

A reconstruction of an institute’s online presence. The new site is completely different than the previous and now more appropriately aligns to the institute’s goals.

Office of the President

president

This year the university welcomed a new President, and with any new leadership comes a new website. It was a great time to take a step back and analyze the goals and needs of a presidential website. We started from the ground up and created a website that President M. Roy Wilson can build upon as he shapes the university.

Office of Career Services

careerservices

The Career Services website is a project we took on this year. The new site is now responsive and gets straight to the point, connecting employers with students.

Division of Development

giving

A complete redesign from the previous site to focus on events, news and a responsive design.

Alumni

alumni

We also redesigned the Alumni site from a third party CMS to integrate with the rest of the university systems. The goal was to have the same feel as the Giving website but make sure it still maintained its own identity.

Office of Continuing Education – School of Social Work

socialwork-continuing

We were tasked at redesigning the Social Work Continuing Education website from Joomla into our native CMS.

Faculty Orientation

faculty-oritentation

Each year the University welcomes new faculty, we built a website to get them oriented with the University and Detroit.

Digital Signage

signage

In addition to websites our team also launched a few new digital signage templates around campus. The four highlighted above show the range of things we accomplish with the signs.

The College of Nursing uses their signs during the first week of classes to highlight which rooms their classes are in. The Recreation and Fitness Center uses theirs to highlight current and upcoming fitness classes. We created some full screen quotes by our president, M. Roy Wilson, to rotate through each sign. And finally our Welcome Center has a student sign in system, in partnership with the university’s CRM team, we hooked the sign to the data from that system and now display the waiting queue and wait times for students.

HTML Emails

html-emails

Throughout the year we have expanded our HTML email templates and capabilities. We introduced the ability to have multiple editable areas within a single email. There is no way to display the hundreds of emails we impacted this year but here is a subset:

40 Payment RSVP’s

Total RSVP’s integrated, tested and launched. That’s one for every other week of the year.

6 Live Streaming Events

From commencement ceremonies to guest lectures, we promote, stream events live, and moderate the chat during the event.

664.60 Website Maintenance Hours, 13,410.18 Total Hours Tracked

hours-2

The graph above is just an overview, click for a more detailed inventory of how we spent our time this last year.

Looking to 2014

We have a few sites that didn’t make the cut this year to launch, they just weren’t ready. 2014 is going to be a big year, we are on track to relaunch at least four school/college sites and three major divisions. We will be integrating more sites into the new wayne.edu platform and focusing on data driven UX changes. We also have a few surprises up our sleeves, so stay tuned.

Dec 7 / Nick DeNardis

Web Changelog – Week of December 2, 2013

It’s been a while since I have posted site launches or updates, and I’ve missed it. The primary reason is we have been heads down working on the completely revised version of wayne.edu. This last week I was inspired by ENTP‘s weekly ‘changelog‘ post and decided to try it out a bit. Instead of posting once and a while when major things happen, I’ll post an update each week with the large and small things that have impacted the Wayne State Web.

Next.wayne.edu progress published in Today@Wayne newsletter

It’s no secret that we have been reconstructing wayne.edu from the ground up the last five months, but it has finally reached a point where we are comfortable announcing it for secondary audience feedback.

The first few months were dedicated to discovery, the team focused on mining the data we’ve been collecting over the past ten years on the current site. Then doing passive and active user testing with our primary audience (prospective and enrolling students). We then completely re-engineered our internal development processes and went to work creating a site that would resonate with that primary audience. At this point we were comfortable getting feedback from our secondary and third audiences.

The story in Today@Wayne accomplished just that, hundreds of comments, questions and insights came in this week. With one week until launch, we are prioritizing, tackling and scheduling out this feedback.

nextwayne-todaywayne

 

New WSU Header based on Foundation 5 rolling out

We made an under the hood update to our global header/footer this week. This v5 version works with Foundation 5 and can be built right into the style of a site with SASS. This reduces the number of HTTP requests and ensures the standard look across all our sites. You can see it in production on our Virtual Tour.

fd5-small

fd5-medium

fd5-large

Virtual Tour moved to a new server

Another slightly under the hood update, we moved our Virtual Tour to a new server environment and rebuilt it completely on Foundation 5 with the new global header. It looks almost identical to the old site but it is now responsive, contains 50% less HTTP requests and is 60% smaller in file size.

virtualtour

vt-stats

 

Hosting a Google+ hangout for admitted students on December 12th

Last year we hosted a live discussion about living on campus (#LifeintheD) which was very successful. Next week we’ll be hosting a Google+ Hangout for admitted students. We are calling this chat #AskaWarrior and inviting all prospective students who have been offered admission for any 2014 semesters. The plan is to have staff and students from various areas of campus to answer as many questions as possible.

#AskaWarrior Google+ Hangout

 

Student Service Center Live Chat now live

Another small but important update, we added “Live Chat” to the student service center homepage. The Student Service Center handles all requests for Admissions, Records and Registration, Financial Aid and Student Accounts Receivable. They are already advertising live chat on the undergraduate admissions homepage and as they add capacity to answer real time questions we will be introducing this live chat button across other Web properties where appropriate.

ssc-live-chat

Dec 6 / Nick DeNardis

DetCoffeeCode – Show and Tell @ Barnes and Noble – December 14, 2013

logoAs a member and leader of a handful of Detroit tech groups I can say that the community is second to none. If you’re interested in anything tech related there is surely an event every day of the week to attend.

DetCoffeeCode is one of those  groups, free to attend, and offers a great place to learn and network. Their next meeting is real close to home, right on Wayne State’s campus at Barnes and Noble.

DetCoffeeCode – Show and Tell

The afternoon will start with a networking session. Later, people will be able to show and tell their projects for 2014 to the group. If you don’t have a completed project then cool, show us what you have so far and we’ll help you out. Follow the Meetup event or @detcoffeecode for the updates!

When

Saturday, December 14, 2013
1:00 PM to 

Where

Barnes and Noble
5221 Gullen Mall
Detroit, MI 48202,

Jul 19 / Nick DeNardis

Refresh Road Trip: Keep The Mobile Web Quick & Better Design with Reusable HTML & CSS – July 25, 2013

RSVPWhen: Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Where: The Qube 635 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI

Cost: Free

Speed by Design – Keep The Mobile Web Quick

As attention spans are heading towards zero and more and more of the population is constantly on-the-go, optimizing your mobile websites to load quickly and efficiently can make an enormous difference in visitor engagement, and most importantly, your bottom-line. Designing for performance should be a top-priority in keeping your visitors happy and allowing them do what they need to do quickly.

You’ll learn a few techniques on how to keep your mobile websites lean and loading quickly, how page speed is actually a component of good UX, how to test and benchmark under various network conditions, and how slow loading times can turn away visitors and potential paying customers.

About Jon Buda

Jon Buda is web developer who loves to design, or a designer who loves to code – depending on the day. He enjoys solving problems holistically, thinking about back-end, front-end, and design all as equally important parts in crafting great experiences. He helps to organize Refresh Chicago and is currently working with Table XI.

Front End Legos – Better Design with Reusable HTML & CSS

There are a million ways to write HTML and CSS, and everyone has their own, but is there a right way? Our code needs to be well structured, written in an organized manner, and performance driven. Sharing code with others should be a joyful experience, not absolute terror.

In this session, Shay will cover some best practices and performance tips for writing the highest quality HTML and CSS possible, and how it benefits your design. Writing code is the easy part, finding a modular practice and structure that works well across the board is the hard part. Shay will outline HTML and CSS conventions that can be applied to your everyday practice today.

About Shay Howe

As a designer and front end developer, Shay Howe has a passion for solving problems while building creative and intuitive applications. Shay specializes in product design and interface development, specialties in which he regularly writes and speaks about. Additionally, Shay helps co-organize Chicago Camps, Refresh Chicago, and UX Happy Hour. You can catch up with him on Twitter as @shayhowe or on his website at http://shayhowe.com/.

RSVP

Jul 18 / Nick DeNardis

Redesign: Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

urop-home-oldurop-home-new

The Undergraduate Research program recently went through a transition in the Office of the Provost and so did its website. Both the scope of the program, name and the visual direction have changed to reflect its new goals.

Like all current sites we launched the site taking advantage of our responsive framework. This means that the website will respond to any device size. This technique has its advantages and disadvantages, I won’t go into all of them, but I’ll highlight a few differences for this particular site.

Tablet is treated as a desktop

For this site, anything above 770 pixels wide is considered a desktop. Because the website is a basic content-driven site with two main columns we did not present a tablet specific view. Although if the site had a deeper menu structure of multiple columns we would have had to adapt to fit within the smaller screen size.

Non-responsive images

Building upon the decision above, the lack of images on this site led us to use a responsive image technique. The problem of optimizing images for each device situation is changing every week. Our lead developer, Rob Vrabel even highlighted the challenges in a recent blog post. Since we are still standardizing the process, we did not want to launch a process that may change in the coming weeks for a few images which are already pretty small.

It doesn’t look all that different than a “traditional” website

This site is straight forward and does its job presenting the information needed and gets out of the user’s way.  It has allowed us to refine our internal process of designing responsive sites. As we roll out more sites patterns will emerge and we will build upon our research. In the end though its all about the user and their experience. Although it may not look like a huge change, a website implemented this way can make a world of difference for our visitors.

View the site at: http://urop.wayne.edu/

May 15 / Nick DeNardis

The innovator’s dilemma – Isolating the wayne.edu Web team

innovators-dilemma

For the last year or so I have been talking about our “restructure of wayne.edu” homepage and website. We have made some progress but we are not nearly where we should be. This isn’t because we don’t think the project is important, but instead have assured our clients’ (university departments/schools/colleges) deadlines are being met instead. This week that all changed. We isolated four staff members and dedicated them to the restructure and re-imagination of wayne.edu and the top 1,000 pages to support enrollment and retention.

The Innovators Dilemma

One of my favorite books is The Innovator’s Dilemma. If you haven’t read it I suggest you pick it up, it’s a short read and totally applicable to any industry. It outlines the process of company growth and why innovation slows as firms get larger. There are various reasons for this but the largest is that it is easier to up-sell existing customers instead of going after new untested markets with new products. Because these untested new products or markets don’t show value they often do not get the attention of resources they deserve until it is too late.

“What this suggests is that the management best practices are only situationally appropriate. There are times when it is right not to listen to customers, invest in lower performing products that promise lower margins, and pursue small rather than larger markets.”

This is the exact situation we find ourselves in. Because we’re focusing all our time on ensuring we have “internal client” work we haven’t had the time to focus on our true customers, prospective students.

Dedicated resources

The book goes on to explain how companies have been able to overcome this dilemma and innovate around or with disruptive technologies (even if they cannibalize parts of their existing company). One of these successful methods is to create an isolated team in both a workload and also a physical environment without any constraints of normal business practices. This allows a team to innovate in ways that are simply not possible in the day-to-day of company operations.

Starting this week we have done just that. Four staff members, Rolaine Dang, Tom Krupka, Rob Vrabel and Alex Bienkowski have been isolated and given an ambitious project. Take a step back and look at the macro view across all of the enrollment sites that now work well individually and stich them together to work well as a single user experience.

waynedotedu-webteam

All of their current projects/tasks have been re-assigned to other staff members and they have physically been moved to a single office (above) where they are isolated from the normal client work we do here in Web Communications.

Re-imagining wayne.edu

I won’t go too much into the project scope at this point other than the large and long term goals. The team is charged with launching a “re-imaged” wayne.edu by the end of 2013. This will include restructuring those top 1,000 pages that are focused on enrollment and retention.

At the moment the websites within wayne.edu work really well individually, they  have their own navigation, information and design. This works well for visitors that know exactly what they need and what department “owns” that information. But this does not work for those prospective students or on-boarding students who were recently accepted and now need to orient themselves with the university. Browsing through theses websites is not only confusing as they bounce from department to department but it also gives the impression that the university is disjointed. The first goal is to fix this by taking all the departments in these 1,000 pages and bring them all under a single look, functionality and domain. This will result in a single user experience, voice and impression of the institution.

The second charge is to create a revolutionary Web experience for our visitors. To use as much data to tailor the experience for an individual visitor and bring the power of the Web to that experience. This charge is still vague because we won’t know exactly how this will impact visitors until the discovery phase is complete. In the end, though, the final product will not be a set of static pages, but instead an experience that will resonate with the visitor. We’ll just have to wait and see how it shakes out.

Follow the progress

The wayne.edu Web team will be blogging about their status each week on the wayne.edu blog. Over the next few months they will be keeping track of scope, options, decisions and progress in both public and private posts. After the relaunch of wayne.edu we plan to make all the private posts public and allow everyone to see all the work/decisions that went into building what we hope is the most successful website for the university.

Follow the blog: http://blogs.wayne.edu/waynedotedu/

May 6 / Nick DeNardis

Redesign: Division of Development & Alumni Affairs websites

Last week we launched the redesigned Division of Development & Alumni Affairs websites. These sites allowed us to accomplish some firsts that we’ve been working toward for some time.

The overall goal of the redesigns was to bring both into a similar look, feel and functionality. Previously, both websites were managed separately, in different content management systems and servers. They were not able to share content and the Alumni website didn’t utilize university resources. We set out to change all that and more.

Division of Development

giving-old-home giving-new-home

Over time the needs for the Development website had changed and we needed to refocus the homepage and the content within the site. The first thing that we changed from the old (left) to the new (right) was the centerpiece focus. We brought the stories that were buried and put them up top, front and center. These stories are what change the heart and mind of alumni and donors. The homepage highlights a handful of stories but we built a full donor stories archive where all will be available long term.

We then pulled the news and events up, but also created a clear left column for calls to action. This simple homepage gives the visitor an overview of what is going on while at the same not being overwhelming.

Alumni

alumni-old-homealumni-new-home

The Alumni website is actually two websites, the front facing homepage and a separate members-only community. The focus of our project was to reconstruct the front-facing site while giving a small facelift to the community. Keeping with the same overall feel of the Development website we kept the homepage simple. Alumni engagement events are highlights in the main centerpiece area, three main calls to action are highlighted in the middle and below a list of news, events and longer standing promotions.

The largest change though to the Alumni website was the information architecture. Between the time we started the project and finished, the university changed from a dues-based alumni model to a free one. This change had us and the Alumni staff re-thinking the purpose of every page on the site. It resulted in far fewer pages but the ones that remain are very focused.

Mobile and other firsts

giving-new-mobilegiving-new-child

I made an announcement a few months ago about only launching responsive websites from here on out and we are committed to that. This site started far before that announcement and was the first start we tailored to mobile from the ground up. The wireframes, designs and everything for this website started and continued in the browser environment instead of isolated in Photoshop. The end result is a very usable site on mobile, tablet and desktop, and we learned a lot along the way.

The first thing we tackled is how to handle multiple tier navigation without overwhelming or underwhelming the user. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how 60 percent or more of site visitors enter on an interior page and how to design the best experience around that. Those visitors need to orient themselves quickly with where they are on the site and where they can go from there. We wanted to keep the same approach we take with desktop websites, allow the user to get a sense of where they are at a glance and identify the local navigation quickly. We came up with a simple solution: on a small screen show the breadcrumbs of where a user is on the site, show the most local menu expanded up top, and give the visitor a “Menu” button to expand the full top menu. See an example, above, of the small screen (left) vs. full desktop version of the same page (right).

In addition to the mobile-first responsive design, these two websites are the first to feature a new global Wayne State University header that is also responsive. I will probably do a full post on it once it’s officially released. We are still working through a few specific browser quirks. But overall we were able to reduce the HTML, CSS, and image footprint of it by about 60 percent of the previous header. It only includes a single image, utilizes the same icon font that is used on the pages themselves and is fully responsive.

Lessons learned

Because our redesign projects typically span 9-12 months from initial meeting to launch, that leaves a lot to happen in the Web world. This website is no exception, over that span of time the CSS framework we used, Foundation, for the wireframes and the resulting design, updated from version 3 to 4 and changed completely (for the better) the way it handles HTML and CSS. By the time that happened we couldn’t go back and redo everything. The biggest lesson we learned from this was we have to be nimble when it comes to locking ourselves into a single framework.

ie8-usage-giving

The biggest lesson we learned though was about browser support. Most all of the newest Web technologies are supported fully only in the newest browsers. This isn’t a problem for most (95 percent+) of our external website visitors. But the world of higher education is filled with large enterprise systems that our campus relies on every day. Unfortunately those systems are slow to update and support those most recent browsers and thus there are a larger portion of computers on campus running older versions of browsers (read Internet Explorer 8). Recently a rash of Web technologies have begun to drop IE8 support, the Development and Alumni websites were not immune to that speed bump. So we had to put in an uncomfortable amount of small bug fixes and ended up relying on respond.js to bandaid the situation until we see IE8 visitors drop off enough. I’m hoping to have an official announcement soon about what are browser support will be long term.

View the sites: http://giving.wayne.edu/ and http://alumni.wayne.edu/