One of the most frequent questions we get from the academic and administrative departments is whether the unit is permitted to hire a 3rd party vendor to do some or all of their site. That question is completely reasonable, given our current backlog of work to be completed.
The short answer is YES. Departments may chose to hire a preferred vendor to complete any or all of the web development process, from content analysis all the way through to development.
The Web Services team strives to uphold the brand standards established by University Communications and Marketing (UCM) for the University (brand) and to ensure that the site developed can be successfully delivered via CommonSpot (functionality). To those ends, we work closely with the 3rd party vendors to ensure these goals remain in the conversations. OIT has worked with several vendors and the Purchasing department to develop a preferred vendor agreement. Finance publishes the current list of preferred vendors online.
There are a couple of critical sign-offs that must be completed to remain in compliance with our process.
If a vendor is contracted to provide planning and design for the site, they must provide to Web Services a content analysis plan, a site map, and a wireframe of the site. After those set of approvals are complete, the vendor, if so contracted, may take those materials and design the site. Once the design is complete, that design must also be approved by Web Services and UCM.
Ideally, these are items are presented to Web Services prior to any presentation to department members. Our goal is to avoid the sticky situation, although rare, when something is planned by a vendor that does not jive with either of the two goals mentioned above: brand and functionality. Then, Web Services has to don their bad-guy hats and break the news to the department. That makes everyone sad.