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November 6, 2017

Accepting Best New Site Award

If you visited lately, you may have noticed a fresh, new look for many of the pages. Many of the attendees at last month’s Cascade User Conference in Atlanta, Georgia noticed, too, as the site won the “Best New Site” award at the conference’s “Cassie Awards.” Voted on by conference attendees, the award is given to the organization that implements the most impressive Cascade-powered site in terms of design, content, and implementation.

Nominees for this award included UCO, Brandeis University, Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, and New York City College of Technology. During the nominee introductions, it was emphasized that UCO’s new responsive website design places an emphasis on the journey a prospective student would make.

Cascade is the university’s content management system (CMS) vendor. Each year, the conference is personalized for Cascade CMS administrators, developers, and end users with technical and strategic presentations by Cascade CMS customers and Hannon Hill trainers and developers. Two of the presentations were given by UCO web service team members Darren Denham and Mark Nokes.

Darren Denham, UCO’s web content manager, presented “Burning the Ground: Taking the Scorched Earth Approach to Launching a New Website Design.” Using the recent redesign as a reference point, Darren shared that some might find a website with more than 400 editors who’ve created 7,000 pages using a design that is over eight years old a daunting task. However, the web team (a collaboration between UCO’s Information Technology and University Communications offices) saw this as an opportunity for a fresh start. He discussed the challenges of implementing a new design including:

THRILLS – Developing a mindset of a customer-focused content strategy

CHILLS – Coaching departments on revamping and restructuring their sites

IMPOSSIBLE FEATS – Building fresh, new pages – no copy/paste allowed

DREAMS – Reducing editors by asking for a small, empowered web content team

EXCITEMENT – Rapid timelines

FRIGHTS – All while moving forward with an upgrade from Cascade7.x to Ocho

Mark Nokes, applications administrator II for UCO, presented “One Site Template with Dynamic Global Header and Footer.” He explained the team needed the ability to produce websites that would contain a dynamic, global header and footer. In addition, the header and footer would need to be:

  • Independently publishable
  • Dynamically included in all pages that use the same site template, and
  • Have a preview inside Cascade

Mark discussed these challenging requirements and how the ability to publish the header and footer to multiple destinations, other than UCO’s primary web servers, has allowed their Software Development Group to place web applications within the same theme as their websites.

With two presenters and one major award, it’s clear UCO took center-stage at the Cascade User Conference – a clear endorsement of the dedication and commitment to quality exemplified by UCO’s web team year-round.