Visitors to the University Business website last month began seeing a redesigned site, built from the ground up to add more features and greater functionality. To give you an idea of what you'll find on the new site, I turned to Stephanie Martinez, CIO of Professional Media Group, which publishes University Business.
"The UB website was built using Drupal 7, an open-source content management system," she says. "The Drupal CMS allows us to manage content more efficiently, and it is very scalable. New features can be added easily."
Drupal also enabled the long-planned site to be built in record time—just eight weeks before it was ready for launch, Martinez says. With the new CMS capabilities, UB editors will be able to post content throughout the day, so the site can be continually updated with news, special reports, blogs, and more.
The revamped website has enhanced indexing capabilities to make content easier to find. "We've created 'topic hubs' for the hot topics in higher education, and all our content from 2004 on is being reclassified according to these hubs," says Martinez. "That includes magazine content, blog posts, white papers, case studies, and more. We have a lot of content that we'll be aggregating to the topic hubs in coming months, so you'll be seeing a lot more content available for each topic. Each hub will become a resource center for anyone interested in a particular topic. And, we're expanding our RSS engagement, so users can keep tabs on the topics that interest them the most. Every major topic will have its own RSS feed."
The new CMS enables UB editors to post news throughout the day for a continually updated site.
Rich media will also play a greater role in the new website, says Martinez. "We'll be able to embed video and slide shows and create user play lists and more." The homepage features a continually changing list of articles from the latest issue of the magazine, and individual stories may include a changing slide show of images from the article. The site takes advantage of the growing presence of HTML5 technology (used by more than 60 percent of websites). All video will be coded in HTML5 so it will be viewable on mobile devices like the iPad and the upcoming Windows 8 tablet.
The new University Business website will promote greater user interaction with social features, such as Facebook and Twitter sharing. Forwarding an article or news item to your own followers is as easy as clicking a button.
There is even a user-enabled Events calendar to post higher ed events. "Registered users can also take advantage of our new job bank," Martinez says. "Posting a job is free, as is searching posted jobs. To take advantage of those features, you just need to fill out a quick and easy registration form, or log in if you are a current UB website user."
This issue of University Business also features a preview of a new editorial content section called "Campus CFO." Scheduled for a full launch in January 2012, Campus CFO will feature news, articles, and resources specifically for higher education financial service professionals. We welcome your ideas and input on our new content.