Website Communication


February 28, 2012

Dear CTS community,

We have been making some changes and testing them out on our beta site (www.calvinseminary.edu/beta), and we are just about ready to go live with those changes. Please take note of the following:

1. Some older browsers will need to be updated. If you are running a very old browser (e.g., Firefox 3), you will need to upgrade to a newer version in order for the slider to work. Please contact Seminary IT if you need help upgrading your browser(s).

2. Quick links to “Tools & Resources” for students, faculty, and staff. You can still get quickly to the pages you use most. On the top-right of the website, please note that you will need to hover over “Portals” with your cursor to get to some of the pages.

3. Quick icons. Many of you requested fast access to Angel and Canvas. On virtually every page of the website, you can now find quick icons on the right sidebar.

4. Thanks! for your continued patience and feedback as we work to make further improvements to the site.

 


February 15, 2012

Dear CTS community,

Since our last communication, we’ve continued adding improvements to the site. Here’s an update on our work thus far.

I. CHANGES MADE. Here’s what we’ve done:

  1. Added photos of real CTS people on various pages (less stock images!). More to come.
  2. Implemented initial steps toward Search Engine Optimization.
  3. Inserted social media buttons for individual news stories.
  4. Inserted a stream of the five “latest news stories” on the front page – these are the five rectangular boxes/photos underneath the main slider area. (Please note that this stream of five gets automatically updated and we have little control over how these appear beyond the stories we publish. So if you want to help keep that part of the site dynamic, please send us stories using the “Submit” link at the top of the website. This is your website and we welcome your contributions!)

II. CHANGES IN BETA. You can see what we’ve been working on here: www.calvinseminary.edu/beta. NB: These changes are only visible on the beta website at present.

  1. The quick links at the top of the page have changed a bit. Hover over “portals” to get to the Students, Faculty & Staff, and Alumni & Friends links.
  2. The front page slider is smaller in order to fit more banners and buttons, for easier, faster access to the most commonly used pages. We’ll be working to improve the look and customization of those banners.
  3. We’ve gotten numerous requests to add new elements and/or features, and the site is substantially better because of your suggestions. If you don’t see your suggestions implemented yet, please know that we’re working hard to make as many of these as possible come true. We’re also working hard to maintain a consistent, coherent aesthetic to the site, which means some of this work takes a bit more time. Thanks for your patience!
  4. We’d love to hear what you think about the beta site. Please send us any feedback using this form.

III. SCHEDULE. We plan to roll out the changes on the beta site into the live site early next week.

IV. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUBLIC AND INTERNAL SITES. With the transition to the new site last month, we made a distinction between the public service and internal usage aspects of the site. Practically, this change means that while we will maintain a clean, polished format on the front page, many of the tools and resources (forms, links, etc.) you need will eventually end up on the internal site.

  1. Public site: www.calvinseminary.edu – This site is CTS’s face to the world. While there is certainly going to be material here of interest to members of the CTS community, the site’s main purpose is to give prospective students, donors, and friends a sense of life and community at CTS. Or perhaps a better way to think of it may be as a dual-purpose site, with the accent on giving public access to CTS.
  2. Internal site: internal.calvinseminary.edu – This site (currently looks like the old site) will eventually become a resource site for students, faculty, and staff. You will be able to access forms and other data through this site. Look for improvements in design and usability coming soon to this site.
IV. FUTURE CHANGES: We understand that frequent changes and constant makeovers to the site can be hard to keep track of. For the most part, we plan to make gradual, incremental changes that come across as improvements rather than distractions. On occasions when we plan significant changes, we will be sure to let you know in advance to allow time for feedback.

 


January 20, 2012

Dear CTS community:

We wanted to give an update on the website changes that have taken place and are planned for the future. We have received very helpful feedback from you already in the process and appreciate your continued patience as we work to improve the site.

I. CHANGES MADE (many of these based on your feedback!)

  1. Easy Access to ANGEL and CANVAS (learning management systems used at CTS). Hover over the “STUDENTS” link on the header and you will see a dropdown menu with links to both. [Updated: 3:22 PM, 2012-01-20] 
  2. Spam Deterrents. We have deployed methods for obfuscation to protect your email addresses from spam. We are closely monitoring the situation to ensure a good balance between accessibility and protection.
  3. Ordering of pages under sections. We received numerous suggestions on reordering the subpages under each of the sections (e.g., “Does the Certificate Programs page need to be the first page under the Academics section?”). We have reordered the pages using our best judgment. If you have further suggestions, please feel free to let us know. Please note that the links in the footer remain in alphabetical order (like a book index), as is common practice.
  4. Less clicks to Tools & Resources. We received numerous requests to make it easier to access Tools & Resources for students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends. All of these are one click away in the header navigation (top right of the front page). Please note with II.6. below that numerous additional enhancements are under consideration to make your navigation to the most commonly-accessed pages even more convenient.
  5. Social Media Buttons. In response to several requests, we inserted social media buttons at the header and subsequently made them smaller.
  6. Latin text around logo. We received one feedback on the loss of the Latin phrase around the logo. Our value is on having text that is legible and understandable, which is currently not possible with the current size of the header (and incidentally wasn’t on the previous website either). As one attempt to bring back the Latin text, we placed a larger image of the logo with the text (and translation) on the ABOUT page.
  7. The “Bavinck Review” was added to our list of publications. 
  8. We are now on a remote server. Using an off-site server provides greater up-time (during power outages), cuts down maintenance work for our IT staff, and makes possible a variety of redundant backup options.

II. IMPROVEMENTS PLANNED (please feel to suggest more!)

  1. More photographs of actual CTS people, settings. We completely agree and are planning photo shoots, even perhaps a contest! We have also been scouring various sources. If you have a picture you’d like to share with us, please do so here.
  2. Update faculty and staff photos.
  3. Individual faculty and staff bio pages. We received one feedback on the loss of the single, printable web page that previously housed faculty and staff bios. We’re exploring possibilities to make this possible.
  4. A “Media Library” section that has past content from our Lecture Archives as well as new content.
  5. Transition https://internal.calvinseminary.edu to a genuine internal portal site (and less of the old site). As we continue to migrate and add content to the new website, we will be phasing out the old elements of the previous website, retaining only those elements that make sense for internal use (various online forms that integrate with internal databases).
  6. Login box directly on the Student Tools & Resources page. We are looking at a variety of options to make the new website interface better for internal portal type pages.
  7. Implementation of Search Engine Optimization. 
  8. Social Media Buttons for individual news stories. We are working on bringing social media buttons individual news stories (so you can FB like, tweet to attract more visits to our site).
  9. Search Bar alignment in Firefox. We’re aware that when the site is viewed using Firefox, the search bar is not correctly aligned (floats a bit higher). We’re searching for a fix (let us know if you know of one!).

III. FAQs  

  1. Where do I find content that I know used to be on the old website but isn’t on the new one? The short answer is that you can find the entirety of the old website at at https://internal.calvinseminary.edu. Slightly longer answer: If you have bookmarked pages, simply adding “internal” at the beginning of the URL should work. The transition to the new website is a migration process and we have identified priority items and secondary items. We are doing our best to continue migrating content over, and hope to have everything moved over by the summer, after which time the internal site will continue to function as a tools and resources portal for students, faculty, and staff.
  2. How do I get new content added to the website, change existing content, and/or request new features? We are asking that all content matters be submitted using the SUBMIT form (link available wherever you may be on the new website at the top header navigation bar). Response times can vary from a few hours to a few days (at most, in unusual cases), but we are committed being as prompt as possible.
  3. Other questions? Please use the SUBMIT form (direct link at top header) and we’ll be in touch right away!
IV. STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS
The CTS website is an invaluable tool for promoting the work of the seminary. We thought it would be interesting for you to see the following stats from the past month:
  1. Visitors. We had close to 3,000 new visits to our site in the past month!
  2. Countries. We have visitors from all over the world coming to our site.