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Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014

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Web Advisory Group launches website

Website will provide insight into committee’s activities


This week, the Web Advisory Group (WAG) will launch their new website. It will provide information and transparency about the group’s resolutions and activities to the rest for the OHIO community.

The WAG is made up of representatives from across a number of college and departments. It is co-chaired by Brice Bible, chief information officer, and Renea Morris, executive director of University Communications and Marketing (UCM), and has 23 members who represent 19 different departments and colleges across Ohio University. It is made up of faculty, staff and students and meets monthly.

"We really wanted to get cross-instructional input," said Mark Krumel, senior director of creative services and the WAG's UCM liaison.

The group was formed in spring of 2009 to provide a meaningful voice by contributing guidance, strategy and creative thinking to help shape institutional priorities and Web initiatives. The WAG has, and will continue to review Web guidelines to ensure compliance with existing technology and security policies.

"The Web Advisory Group provides a sounding board for decisions involved in improving the University's Web presence," said Morris. "Having a Web Advisory Group in place ensures we have a group of individuals, which are representative of the university, focused on finding ways to ensure our website is accessible and that it portrays an image consistent with our brand. As more and more people rely upon the Internet for information, it is critical to have a focused effort on this important tool for the university."

Bible agreed with Morris’ assessment of the importance of the WAG. "The web presence of Ohio University is our window to the outside world," he said. "It is important the university community is actively involved with strategy, activities, and priorities that are the focus of the presence."

To assist, the WAG is further broken into subcommittees that meet monthly to tackle specific tasks and questions. Subcommittees include Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, content, design, priorities and security.

The design committee for instance will work from time to time with the content committee to create a clean, uniform look and style to all Ohio University-affiliated websites. A recent development was the creation of headers and footers to be attached to all OHIO websites.

"They come in a variety of colors to give designers and developers some choices when they are creating new sites," said Krumel.  However, though their shade might be different, they offer a consistency throughout the OHIO online community that the WAG is working towards.

The priorities group works closely with Web Services, collaboration between UCM and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) that designs and builds university websites. A client in need of a website fills out an intake form and then it goes to the priorities group.

"The subcommittee then decides if it is something that needs a template or needs to be an entirely new design," said Krumel. "If it can be made from a template, Web Services Group could have the new website together in a matter of weeks."

The priorities subcommittee prioritizes jobs as they come in in order of urgency.

The website will be open to the public this week and will feature meeting notes.

"Once convened last year, the group embraced their charge and have actively participated on committee work to structure the web environment," said Bible. "This structure will serve the university well as we move forward with advanced web services such as those available via the new portal."

Web Advisory Group accomplishments

In just a year since it was formed, University Communications and Marketing (UCM) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT), through the guidance provided by the Web Advisory Group, have achieved the following:

  • Use of a template to shorten the production time for individual website requests

  • Development of a priority classification system for incoming requests

  • Development of minimum standards for accessibility of websites

  • Development of headers and footers to ensure Web design consistency for newly created sites

  • Establishment of Web style guidelines