University Web Developers

University Web Developers

We are a small college and I'm the only person that is in charge of the content (excluding news stories) that go online. I sometimes get videos given to me that a Faculty member wants on their department's page, but in my opinion it's not a good video choice.

Who at your colleges are in charge of content, or what's the content approval process?

I like the ease of just being able to give me something, but what happens when it's not the quality you think it should be?

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I'm at a bigger school, but only in a tiny department. So our approach might be helpful to you. Keep in mind that while you seem to be on the content side, I tend to be more of the developer side of the coin.

We setup a committee which controls the over all direction of the site and which has to sign off on changes that occur site wide. They meet very infrequently but represent most of the heads of our departments. They also tend to make sure that the site we have serves the school and departmental needs we have going forward

For smaller stuff, we have a smaller group to oversee day to day changes. These people actually have rights to make edits to the site a well as update content as needed. For every day things they do very well. But occasionally a point comes up that one person of group of people on this board things needs to be changed.

The smaller group is overseen by the communications office who has the final say on anything in the absence of a decision from the first committee. Since the people on the first committee are generally pretty busy this means that the day to day disputes get resolved here.

So, in my case, we would send the video over to the director of communications, preferably in a working mock up of the page, and ask her to take a look, and let us know if the video was okay. If she signs off, it goes up. Since we provided a mock up there should be no real doubt as to how it looks or how it effects load time etc.

You probably are filling the communications role I mentioned. If you think the movie sucks: it sucks. Most people will be fine if you come back say no, have a few good specific reasons, and give them the you can always ask all the deans to take time out of their schedule to review your video.

The other big part of this is for me software, I have a CMS that fits the needs I have very well. It helps the above structure work without people getting each other's way and makes the discussion of a page an easier thing to handle.
Our college district has five campuses with only two full-time Web employees: the webmaster (David) and the Web content editor (me)--actually one more to join our team at the end of the month...YAY!!!!!!!! :-) Although we regularly get help from three other employees in the district. During our recent redesign, we took the approach of doing our IA and content writing with the different audiences in mind, rather than our org chart: this was like pulling teeth in most cases (as you might imagine).

Each campus has a different organizational structure when it comes to disciplines, so geography may be in the science division on one campus but in the humanities on another campus. We had to drill down to the discipline level and have one rep from each campus work as a team to come up with the content for THE geography area, THE math area, etc., rather than one for each campus. Our students are SO thankful for the change as are the prospective students we've heard from.

All members of each discipline (or dept) team had to attend a Writing for the Web training before they ever get access to the CMS. All that to say that for each discipline out of the five representatives, one is responsible for entering the content into our CMS and one other is responsible for "approving" that content before it gets to me (I'm the Web content editor for the entire district). Because of major politics, this was actually the best solution for us (myself and the Webmaster) as well as make sure that the administrators were happy. (Lots more to this and can talk to you about the good, the bad and the ugly that we learned during that process if you'd like.) I then edit all content keeping usability in mind.

Let me know if I can answer any more questions. Prior to this position I was the lone ranger Web person at a smaller university.
My response to the question at might be of some help to you.
You have to not let it get personal.

And then you agree to put it up and test it. If it's shown to have a negative impact on that departments goal (web sign ups) then it will come down. If it increases the departments goal then it can stay.

And the good thing about statistics is that you can always get them to agree with you.



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