NOVA Website Implementation Plan
March 17, 2008
Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is getting a fresh face. The new NOVA website is scheduled to go live the evening of March 25. The Web Advisory Committee, the Web Implementation Committee, the Technology Applications Center (TAC), and Ripple Effects Interactive (REI), our experienced, strategic and creative partner, have been working hard to implement our new website. The website’s graphics, text, and templates are housed inside our new database system here at NOVA, the Cascade Server Content Management System (CMS).
Ripple Effects Interactive (REI) has done its homework. They completed an extensive Website Redesign Strategy Report based on what they learned from student, faculty, and staff discovery sessions; target audience research; review of competitive landscape of other higher education websites in our region; and best practices, trends, and tools in interactive website design. Through the discovery sessions, students let us know that our current website was “hard to navigate, cluttered, and lacked personality and impact.” Based on the student feedback, REI developed the new design with its fresh face that focuses on our students and faculty and their stories while providing new, clean, simple navigation.
Along the way to implementation, student focus groups reviewed the original design choices and provided feedback. Once the new design was reviewed by the two committees and approved, then REI conducted student focus groups again on the campuses with a diverse student sample of all ages to test the new design and navigation. Next REI worked with our Web Content Manager to rewrite thousands of pages of content to have a common student-focused voice.
The March 25 deadline was chosen because it was after the second eight week registration was over and before Summer 08 registration begins. We have a week for everyone to feel comfortable with the new site and its simple navigation before registration begins.
Objectives for the New NOVA Website
The purpose of the new NOVA website is to meet several specific objectives:
- Be a reliable source of current and timely information for our students, faculty and staff and the wider community.
- Be an effective tool for student support, academic support, employee services, alumni and community relations, foundation and donor development and recognition, and internal and external communications.
- Drive recruiting efforts and class registrations across all programs and campuses.
- Support community relations and the development of corporate partnerships.
- Effectively market NOVA to the many audiences it serves.
The new NOVA website will be implemented in three phases.
Phase One – delivered March 25:
Phase One focuses on making the majority of the site available to our students with time to explore it before SU 08 registration begins.
- New NOVA website with the newly designed templates for the various looks of the site.
- Newly written content for all of the upper level pages of the site to set a user-friendly tone. See the attached Content Outline for the specifics.
- Implemented Content Management System, the database that holds all of the graphics, text, and templates for the site.
- Accessibility to the CMS only to Web Implementation Team.
- College-wide applications in the new look.
- Implementation of the Google Syndicated Search code for all pages of the new website.
- Completion of Quality Assurance (QA) for link reliability, Google Syndicated Search, and integrated Flash features.
- Web Style Guide.
- Announcements for launch of the new website.
There will remain some web pages that have elements of the old look, including administrative office sites, the library site, Workforce Development /Continuing Education sites, and some campus applications. After March 25, these sites and other web pages will be migrated into the new look and housed in the CMS.
Phase Two – delivered by the end of May:
While work continues in Phase Two, the old NOVA website will remain on the novaweb server so that what needs to be added can be added in a timely manner.
Faculty will need to check the links on their online materials to make sure that they all work correctly during this phase.
- Migration of additional web pages into the CMS.
- Development and implementation of some additional interactive applications.
- Completion of ADA compliance testing.
- Establishment of a college-wide Web Quality Assurance Committee to ensure that the site architecture, design, content voice and standards detailed in the Web Style Guide are maintained throughout the NOVA site.
- Identification of a web advisory board for each campus to be determined by the campus provosts who will review their campus content and provide feedback to the college-wide Web Quality Assurance Committee for additions and revisions.
- Establishment of a procedure for approving website development requests.
- Development of a CMS Roles System in coordination with the campus advisory boards, representatives from college-wide administrative offices, and the Web Quality Assurance Committee that will determine access to the content in the CMS.
- Completion of one final set of student focus groups for feedback once the new site has been up for one month.
- TAC completion of training documents for those who will be inputting content into the CMS.
- TAC training of campus designated colleagues to have access to the CMS to add content.
- TAC monitoring of Google Analytics reports on web page traffic for marketing purposes.
- Coordination with the IT Help Desk and Call Center to provide customer support.
- Development and implementation of website marketing plan
REI will continue to work with NOVA during Phase Two of this implementation.
Phase Three – ongoing:
Phase Three focuses on what needs to be done on an ongoing basis to ensure the NOVA website meets its objectives.
- Maintenance of the architecture, design, content, and voice of the new NOVA website.
- Maintenance and upgrade of the CMS.
- Completion of both quality assurance and quality control processes (Quality Control focuses on ensuring the Web Style Guide standards are being followed to ensure that the site architecture, design, text and voice are maintained while Quality Assurance focuses on what goes into the development process to improve it).
- Development of new applications within the standards of the Web Style Guide and the site architecture.
- Development and implementation of new tools for interactivity on the site.
- Monitoring ADA Compliance.
- Monitoring usability and consistency.
- Design of new web page additions to the site within the Web Style Guide and the site architecture.
- Development of a database to house a log of reported problems.
- Training and training materials delivered with each upgrade of the CMS.
- Monitoring of Google Analytics reports on web page traffic for marketing purposes.
- Review and revision of the website section of the marketing plan as needed.
- Continued use of the website review structure through the campus advisory boards, Web Quality Assurance Committee, and college-wide offices designated by the Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
This phased implementation will provide the time needed to assess whether the new site has met its goals and objectives and to ensure that the new NOVA website is meeting the needs of its users.