CYCLE OF WEBSITE REDESIGNS: “PAINTING A BRIDGE” Since the launch of the current USD home page in September 2015, the ITS Web Services team continues “painting the bridge” that spans USD’s web presence. The USD home page has had over 2 million views annually from over 230 countries. Traffic arrives from a variety of devices and we see computer traffic decreasing while mobile and tablet traffic increases on a yearly basis. We have incorporated the latest technical web features and emerging trends into the following major redesigns which have launched. We also oversee and manage 150 academic, administrative and departmental websites across the university with these same features and trends.
• College of Arts and Sciences (February 2016) • School of Peace Studies (September 2016) • School of Business (November 2016) • School of Law (December 2017) • School of Education and Leadership Sciences (forthcoming March 2018) • School of Engineering (forthcoming Summer 2018)
WEB ACCESSIBILITY (508/ADA COMPLIANCE)
ITS developed and continues to support Lift Up with University Ministry. It is a custom mobile application designed for USD students, staff and faculty. Lift Up displays inspirational quotes and mass readings, allows prayer request submissions, virtualizes prayer spots on campus and lists events from the University Ministry department.
As many colleges and universities are served with complaints about inaccessible websites, the ITS Web Services team has been proactive and a leader in this arena. For years ITS has made a concerted effort to comply with the accessibility standards specified in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and WCAG 2.0, Level AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). The rigorous guidelines improve web accessibility for anyone on any device. As web guidelines are modified, retroactive changes are being implemented by the ITS Web Services team. Best practices have been put into place to ensure that future-forward website creation and updates will attain a high-compliance standard.
VIRTUAL TORERO ID As of 2015, USD was among the first universities to offer a virtual ID mobile application. The Virtual Torero ID feature was custom-built by ITS developers within the existing MySDMobile mobile app, allowing users to display their ID card virtually via a smartphone. This allows MySDMobile users to check into events or use Campus Cash at campus retail locations including dining halls and the USD Torero Store. The Virtual Torero ID feature was used over 300,000 times in 2017.
The planning phase for the next USD website redesign will begin in Spring 2018. You can anticipate that our newly “painted bridge” will include the latest features, web trends, a new look/feel and different ways of reaching our primary audience. This will eventually cascade to our academic and departmental sites over the following two years.
LEADERS IN WEB DESIGN ITS Web Services has become a leader in web development, not only working with our USD partners, but also sharing knowledge with our peer institutions and outside vendors. The team has been invited to speak on various web development topics and hosted presentations and poster sessions at national conferences such as HighEdWeb, the Hannon Hill User Conference and the Academic Resource Conference (ARC). In addition, ITS web designers have been asked to present in USD classrooms to discuss web user interface with engineering students.
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