May 26, 2011
For the last two years, the Web Advisory Group (WAG) has connected departments across Ohio University to help create a cohesive vision for University websites and to facilitate their development.
"WAG is an advisory group that updates ITAC [Information Technology Advisory Committee] on development of the standards for University websites," explained Jay Beam, committee member and web services director for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). "Consistency is important in communications and the Web is becoming the primary communications tool for organizations."
The WAG is made up of members from across departments and demographics and this diversity is important to develop and enhance the online vision for the University.
"The diverse membership serves to provide guidance, strategy and creative thinking to help shape institutional priorities and Web initiatives," said Mark Krumel, committee member and director of creative services for University Communications and Marketing (UCM). "What better way to get support for this than to invite different stakeholders from all reaches of the institution?"
In the last year, WAG has seen several prominent achievements.
"One of the greatest accomplishments was creating the new CommonSpot [online content management system] Web templates for widespread campus use," said Jenny Hall-Jones, committee member and assistant dean of students. "It allows people who do not have the technical expertise to manage a website, while at the same time standardizing some of the look and feel of the sites so we represent Ohio University in our Web presence."
Other achievements included an update of the home page of Ohio.edu, commonly called the "front door."
"The front door moved from being a place for news to a marketing page creating more emphasis on the Compass website," explained Krumel. "I think with the input of this group, the partnership between OIT and UCM in the Web Services Group grew stronger and will continue to be a collaborative way to get website needs at OHIO met. Additionally, narrow headers for Web pages were established. And, there was also oversight of more than 50 websites created by the eight members of the Web Services Group."
Members of the WAG have already begun setting goals for next year. The group would like to see:
Academic website migration project through Web Services
Enlarged page footers to accommodate more information
Social media guidelines
A mechanism to enlist the student voice to the WAG
The group has done much in the last two years, but would like to do even more.
"When we first started to meet, I think some of the subcommittees were unsure of what their purpose was. I think as the process has developed over the two years and decisions have been implemented and proven, those same people are more comfortable with how this all works," said Krumel.
For information about the WAG and the membership, go to the WAG website at http://www.ohio.edu/webadvisory/