What a Web We Weave
The move to the Texas Tech University System marks the debut of a more dynamic ASU website, including a home page with a variety of new features and sources of information.
Website visitors first will notice the new look, adapted from the Texas Tech templates, with new sections on ASU facts, history and traditions, and sights and sounds of campus life as well as personality features on both students and faculty. Additionally, visitors will find a new interactive 3-D map that gives details about campus buildings and facilities.
A section for news and general feature stories has also been added so everyone can keep up with the activities on campus and the success of the ASU family everywhere. A new web calendar will make it easier for everyone to keep up with activities on campus.
The Web Transition Team converted more than 5,000 HTML pages with approximately a quarter million design elements, including graphics, photos, text and headings, to the new format in 100 days, the time from the day Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the legislation until it became effective on September 1.
Along the way the Web Transition Team learned that the Library had the most web pages of any entity on campus with 1,624 while the Communications and Marketing Office came in second with 1,229.
Communications and Marketing Director Preston Lewis, who headed the Web Transition Team, said the work was accomplished in a sixth of the time required the last time ASU did an overhaul of its website.
The ambitious timetable was set not only because of the move to the Texas Tech System but also because of new ASU President Joseph C. Rallo’s desire for a more active and dynamic website. Rallo provided the supplemental funding necessary to accomplish the conversion.
“This was a total team effort,” Lewis said, “with many people making the conversion possible on such a short timeline. The staff of Information Technology and of Communications and Marketing deserves everyone’s thanks for their dedication and long hours on this project.”
The process began the day after Gov. Perry signed the enabling legislation when Michael Martin, director of graphics in Communications and Marketing, began to adapt ASU colors to the Texas Tech template. He chose more muted hues than ASU’s official colors to give the home page and ensuing templates a more elegant look.
The design, however, could not be finalized until mid-June after campus surveys helped Dr. Rallo determine the new university logo and tagline that would be integral to the design. Once the home page was designed, additional templates were designed for various departmental needs.
At this point the design and templates were turned over to IT’s Elaine Beach and Carey Taylor, who oversaw the detailed technical work necessary to start the process moving. They secured the computer lab in Rassman 225 for the “war room,” as it became known, and assembled a team of temporary and student workers, dubbed by Lewis as “the miracle workers.” Chief among them was Christine Imaizumi, whose technical expertise expedited the conversion. The serious work on converting all institutional and departmental pages began on July 6.
In addition to Imaizumi, the other miracle workers were Amber Boyd, Tim Brewster, Jonathan Bunn, AJ Geomets, Debbie Goforth, Scott Heiser, Gerald Jost, Kimberly Kerr, Sayer Killam, Sherie Loika, John Mathews, Heather Middleton, Megan Murray, Shivam Pandey, Michael Penn, Garrett Potts, Richard Ramos, Kirby Rankin, Deona (DJ) Sutterfield, Zach Watkins, Lexee Welch, Anna Williams, Alex Yarbrough, Maureen Youngblood, Wayne Youngblood and Christopher Zayas.
Additional support came from various IT staff members, including Jason Hord, Joey Hereford, Jason Brake and Patrick Dierschke on various technical issues and Carl Martin on the new web calendar. Jon Wilcox joined the team in July as ASU’s first webmaster.
While the technical work was in process, additional background work was necessary by Communications and Marketing so all the new links would be populated when the page went online. Tom Nurre had primary responsibility for the features on faculty and students. Michael Martin oversaw with various graphic and design needs while Tina Doyle assisted with photographs.
“When this process began in June on such a short timeline,” said Lewis, “it seemed overwhelming, but Information Technology pulled together a great team that made it happen. I am reminded of a quote by Mark Twain along the lines that it is better to have written a book than to be writing a book. The same can be said for converting a website of this magnitude.”