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Phase 2: Hey Offices, Hang on to Your Hats

As Bethel prepares for another school year for our traditional undergrads, Web Services is ready to jump into Phase 2 of the website redesign—and we’ll be taking some Bethel offices with us.

Here is a quick run through of where we’ve been and where we’re going:

Phase 1

  • May 2010: Launched with top-level pages, admissions content, and all academic departments who turned in complete content outlines near their deadline.
  • May – August 2010: Cleaned up site errors and continued to work on academic programs who turned in complete content outlines after deadline.

Phase 2

  • August 2010: Communicate process for and begin working through offices.
  • September – January 2010: Continue to work with academic departments that still need basic content in the new site.

Phase 3

  • February 2011 and on: Continue to work through offices and academic departments that still need basic content in the new site.
  • February 2011: Communicate process for and begin working with academic departments who want to add more features or content to their site. Work with academic programs on author privileges for new webpages.
  • March 2011: Begin working with additional academic and auxiliary services such as art galleries, bookstore, councils, and others.

We know you’ll have questions about moving into this second phase, so we’ve tried our best to anticipate and answer a few of those here.

Didn’t we finish the redesign?

We’ve just begun. Bethel’s site is huge, and we launched with only the high-level, “must have” content. We’re thrilled with what’s been done, but we’re now a bit refreshed and ready to go back for more.

What’s included in Phase 2?

As the title of this post suggests, we’ll start working through Bethel offices. That includes areas of our site like Development, Financial Aid, Campus Ministries, and tons more. And we’re not planning to simply cut and paste pages. Instead, we’ll sit down with each office and rethink how we craft our messages and organize our information to better serve our site visitors.

We’ll also continue to work with all academic departments that still need to get basic sites running in the new website.

When can my office start?

We recognized that we couldn’t approach every office at once, so our team worked with the Redesign Steering Committee to come up with a priority list to work through. Take a look at the Office Project List (pdf) to get an idea for where your office sits.

We’ll start with 1 or 2 offices, and then pick up the speed once we get the hang of things. You’ll hear from our team when we’re getting close and we’ll work to find a time that fits with the ebbs and flows of your office.

Also, watch this blog. After we finish the first few offices, we’ll hopefully be able to communicate a rough timeline.

How was the project list determined?

We looked at things like the complexity of an office’s web content, the audiences served, and the level of current web traffic. The Redesign Steering Committee also weighed in on what offices they felt had institutional priority and ultimately established the order.

What about content from Phase 1 that didn’t go live?

Any content that was slated for Phase 1 is still a priority for our team. If you’re an academic department that has not submitted a basic web outline, please contact us. We’d love to work with you.

I found something that’s incorrect on the new site. What should I do?

If you come across typos or incorrect info on new webpages, we’d love to know about it. Don’t hesitate to fill out our comments and questions form. It’s our top goal to give visitors accurate information that they can use.

In closing, we want you to know how much we appreciate your patience and support as we work through this massive process. It’s not easy and it’s slow going, but we consider ourselves blessed to work at Bethel where we can dig through such a challenging project with a caring and respectful bunch of peers.

If you ever have any questions about the web, just send an email to and someone from our team will be thrilled to respond.

New Silva Feature – External Source Previews

For those of you who know what external sources are (i.e. those confusing yellow boxes you see when editing pages), a new feature will soon be rolled out to make working with them easier.  When editing documents, External Sources will no longer be yellow boxes but will instead display the rendered source.  The “rendered source” is what displays when the page is viewed.  Authors will now see this when editing documents as well.  This feature is intended to give authors a richer editing experience by providing a more complete picture of what the document will look like when published.

This feature will be deployed on Thursday, January 28.

Document with External Source—before external source previews

Web Services Image 15

Document with External Source—with external source previews


Silva Content Layout Proposal

Bethel’s website redesign will deliver a number of premade content layout templates designed specifically for certain purposes, like an office or department homepage, a new article, admissions homepage, etc.  Most of these templates are complex layouts with multiple zones for content.  An simple example of such a layout is one with 2 columns.  It is prohibitively difficult to create layouts of this sort and certainly not sustainable.

Web Services is working on a solution to this problem and hope to create an easy to use system for creating web pages from pre-made content layouts.  We don’t want to develop this in a vacuum but want feedback and (hopefully) support from the whole Silva community.  Ultimately we want this to end up in Silva’s core, becoming part of the standard Silva CMS so that everyone can enjoy it.

The following pdf is the start of this conversation.  If you’re interested, please read through it and provide your feedback.