UNMC's website to move to new content management system

November 11, 2013

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UNMC's websites will move to a new content management system next year. Cascade Server, by Hannon Hill, will replace RedDot. Hannon Hill largely focuses on higher education, and UNMC will be the third NU campus to choose Cascade Server, after Kearney and Omaha.

The decision is the result of work over 18 months by the Web Advisory Group, whose members represent units across campus (see sidebar). The group meets monthly to discuss potential changes. About a year ago, the group recommended minor updates while continuing to discuss long-term changes.

The group worked with the ITS and PR web teams on usability studies, heat mapping tools and analytics, determining features of UNMC's websites used most often, what visitors have difficulty finding and what devices visitors most often use.

"The Web Advisory Group, along with the web teams in PR and ITS, have given careful consideration to the decision to upgrade UNMC's content management system," said Rodney Markin, M.D., Ph.D., UNMC's chief technology officer and associate vice chancellor for business development. "They've chosen a system that is user friendly while also providing greater opportunity to improve the web experience of our visitors."

The group's discussions also led to plans to refresh and update the unmc.edu design.

The plan includes using responsive web design, meaning unmc.edu will adjust automatically for optimum viewing across devices, from desktop to smartphone. John Barrier, College of Nursing webmaster, said the group's research was revealing.

"Visitors to our websites still struggle to locate content, and the increased use of tablet and smart phone to access websites necessitated that our websites be responsive to a wider variety of device sizes and formats."

Fran Higgins, marketing/education coordinator for the School of Allied Health Professions, said serving on the group has been rewarding. "The group has real focus and each meeting is productive toward our common goal of making the UNMC website as good as it can be. We've worked hard to plan ways to make our site more inviting, modern and easier to navigate."

Design changes will take effect with the migration to Cascade Server, expected to begin in January with the top-level pages of unmc.edu. Subsites will migrate on a schedule to be announced later. Training will be scheduled for web developers.

Design plans will be reported as they are finalized. Please send suggestions and comments here. Also, follow developments in the website blog.

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Kirsten Stites
November 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Great news! If we are going to keep the "Contact" portlet on the right side of the page, can we please make sure that the address info "98XXXX Nebraska Medical Center" can fit on one line instead of dropping the "Center" to the next line?