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Transforming UB’s digital communications through process and tools

Steps To Completing the DCT

Follow these steps to complete the Digital Communications Transformation (DCT) process for your organization.

Elevate your site performance through readiness, strategy and planning

Step 1. Get Versed in the Process

The Digital Communications Transformation (DCT) strives to take the mystery out of technology, while providing our faculty and staff with easy-to-use tools that better facilitate effective online communication.

PREPARE

  1. Take the online training: Introduction to the Digital Communications Transformation
  2. Familiarize yourself with the online help site
  3. Understand the Tiers of Participation
  4. Determine a preliminary target date for when you would like your website to launch
  5. Please note that all sites are required to participate a DCT Orientation in order to have a site build.

DO

  1. Request an orientation

Step 2. Planning and Resourcing

Websites are strategy-driven projects. Having the right people involved is essential for planning, content development and site building.

  1. Get buy-in from your leadership (no project is a priority without leadership support)
  2. Identify how you will resource the roles needed for a successful project
  3. Estimate your time commitment using the readiness planning worksheet (at right)

Step 3. Business Strategy

If you want a website that really works, it's important that your content supports both your organizational goals and your audiences' needs.

PREPARE

  1. Read the overview: Business Strategy and Planning
  2. Take the online training to learn about Understanding Your Strategic and Audience Needs

DO

  1. Conduct stakeholder interviews
  2. Identify key objectives, missions and core messages (identify what is success)
  3. Identify and prioritize target audiences and the messages and information they need to understand
  4. Develop an audience matrix with message map. Make sure you have incorporated your unit brand messages (see your unit Senior Communicator). 
  5. Compile information into a business planning document
  6. Circulate to stakeholders (including your local IT support team and your unit Senior Communicator) for final review and endorsement

Step 4. Conduct Content Audit

Assess the current state of your website and any other content you may have. What information does it currently contain and what is the quality of the information?

PREPARE

  1. Read the overviews:
  2. Take online training to learn how to do a content audit
  3. To prepare your ability to audit, we also reccomend taking:

DO

  1. Evaluate the integrity (be sure to use usage data from current site)
  2. Make qualitative assessments
  3. Create a content audit using the example spreadsheet
  4. Discuss the outcomes with your team
    • What is the shape your content is in?
    • Will you need new content? Content editing?
    • What are your photo and/or video needs?
    • Are there databases needed to be included?
    • Are there external dependencies that are not to your standards? (e.g. docs, pdfs, videos/YouTube, rss feeds)
    • Have you identified essential functionality needs that do not exist in the UBCMS?

Time saver

This step can be done in parallel to crafting your Business Strategy.

Step 5. Build Information Architecture (IA) and Content Strategy

Design a scaleable site organization that supports the needs of both your organization and your audiences in a user-friendly and measureable way.

PREPARE

  1. Understand how to think about your audience needs
  2. Take the online training: Planning your Information Architecture

DO

  1. Create a key task document (what are the tasks users need to act on?)
  2. If you haven't already, create (or expand upon) your Audience Matrix
  3. Identify "birds of a feather" sites in the UBCMS and use their IA as a starting point for organizing your site
  4. Build out your Information Architecture (IA) in Word, Excel or other outlining software
  5. Create a "purpose statement" for every section
  6. Map your existing content to your IA (pages, documents, databases)
  7. Make sure when you place content in sections your organization make sense to your audience
  8. Take the time to codify the success factors for your content. This will be an invaluable guide for those who are writing the content, and later for those who are doing site production
    • What is the purpose this content is fulfilling (if not self evident)
    • What are the key tasks for this content to fulfill
    • What are the key messages for this content to support
    • What calls to action should be incorporated
    • Are there any key points this content should touch on
    • Was there any best practices we found from our competition that can inform this content?
    • When writing this content, is there a special page layout from an existing site the author should keep in mind

Create and Deploy your site

Participants in the Rapid Migration tier start HERE

Step 6. Request a Site and Deployment Date

PREPARE

(ONLY for Rapid Migration Tier) 

(ONLY for DCT Process)
  • Gather your planning documents for uploading
    • Business Strategy (required for all EXCEPT Rapid Migration)
    • Audience Matrix (required for all EXCEPT Rapid Migration))
    • Information Architecture

(Required for everyone)

  • Based on your Information Architecture, estimate the number of pages in your site
  • Find a site in our DCT Live Sites that looks and is structured like the site you have in mind
  • Rule of thumb:
    • If your site is simple, pick a simple template
    • If you know your site is growing, pick a template that will reflect where you want to be
    • If you don't have technology support, pick a "inspiration" site that is more basic
  • Identify a target deployment date based on
    • How long will take you to craft your content (be realistic and include review and sign off time)
    • How long it will take you to build your site
      • Rule of thumb:
        • 4 hours of learning and slower production (once you take the training of course)
        • 20 minutes per simple page
        • 40 minutes per complex page
        • 3 hours for your home page
    • Build in an additional 3.5 weeks for site optimization and deployment (required for all EXCEPT Rapid Migration)
    • Make sure you choose a date when you are not on vacation

DO

  1. Reach out to University Communications to schedule your estimated site launch dates. Be prepared to share your collateral, your requested launch date, estimated, and number of pages. 

But my site is not built yet!

Our site launch (activation) schedule fills up rather quickly. We reccomend you identify and schedule your site launch date as early as possible so we can lock down that date for you.

Step 7. Content Development

Create content that satisfies your business/organizational needs and the needs of your audiences. You may know what you want to tell your audience, but it is equally important to understand the needs of your audience, which may be very different from what you initially envisioned.

PREPARE

  1. Learn how to write content that will resonate with your website visitors
  2. Learn how to select strong visuals
  3. Take the online training: Writing for the web
  4. Review the Solutions Group Videos on Understanding and Applying the UB BrandContent Development, Shared Content and Using Images.

DO

  1. Review the content requirements in your information architecture (IA)
  2. Identify what visual and written content is needed for your new site
  3. Identify opportunities to share content from other sites (saves you from having to create it!)
  4. Identify who needs to review/sign off on all content
  5. Prepare your content
    • Update out-of-date content
    • Edit existing content so it aligns with writing for the web best practices
    • Create new content 
  6. Copyedit all content for grammatical/spelling errors, style, strength of message, clarity, consistency
  7. Arrange for photos/video to be taken or buy stock images as needed
  8. Arrange for reviews and sign offs before content is placed into system

TIP: When developing your content...

• Make sure your content is written well for the web

• Make sure your content is message-rich

• Perform an editorial review of content for style, tone, and grammatical/spelling errors. It is critically important that copy is edited and proofed!

• Check for duplicative content and see if it makes sense to create is as "shared content".

• Check to see if university-wide shared content can be used.

•Check links for common sense.

>>Is it valuable content?

>>Will that content be there next year (if not this is a stewardship issue)

>>Did you give a proper description so that the user knows what they are clicking on (and will be motivated to click)?

>>Did you link to the top of the site, stranding your user or did you link deep enough to place them in a relevant portion of the site?

Step 8. Planning for Stewardship

Smart sites start early by identifying who will be in charge of stewarding each area of your site, as well as how often pages, facts and stories should be updated.

Prepare

  1. Take the onine training: Stewarding your site
  2. Review Solutions Group Videos on Stewardship and Planning

Do 

  1. Review the content for your site and be sure it is written in a way (or the topics of visual used) that is sustainable.
  2. Determine the editorial process for your website (How and when will you update your Web content? Who will update your content?)
  3. Determine a strategy for ongoing refinements and evolving your site to align with your business strategy
  4. Determine what analytics are important to review, who will review them and how often
  5. Be sure your site is set up in a way that leverages shared content and lists (time saver!)
  6. Codify your stewardship plans for each page in your page properties stewardship tab.

After Launch

  1. Reveiw your stewardship report for tasks and updates monthly.
  2. Assign and execute.

Step 9. Get Trained in the UBCMS

Once you have created and remediated your content, get training on how to use the UB Content Management System (UBCMS).

  1. Review your Roles and Resourcing document to identify staff that require UBCMS training
  2. Have your staff take the online training courses
  3. Have your staff attend a hands-on training session or take the self-paced training.
  4. Familarize yourself with a wide variety of DCT Soltutions Group Trainings available which will take your knowledge of using the tool to the next step.

Step 10. Build Site Out in the UBCMS

  1. Enter your information architecture into the UBCMS (keeping UB core content, such as Our Campuses, etc.)
  2. Make certain your content is optimized for the web
  3. Use existing DCT live sites for ideas and inspiration on page layouts
  4. Be sure to use lists and shared content to minimize your stewardship impact, including university-wide and authoritative shared content.
  5. Read the documentation carefully, it helps you set things up right the first time.
  6. Be sure to copyedit and proofread your work.
  7. Integrate outside databases  [if applicable]
  8. When you are done walk through every page and every link.
  9. Before you submit your site for optimization it needs to be done.  Make sure to hide any pages you do not intend to activate or are not ready for review.
  10. If you see you are not making your deadline, please contact the DCT Help Desk to reschedule as soon as possilbe.

 

Step 11. Work With University Communications (UC) to Optimize Your Site

Rapid Migration Tier participants are not eligible for this service.

  1. Review the site optimization process
  2. UC will review and optimize your site based on the level of support

Step 12. Go Live!

  1. Review the site activation process
  2. Test your website
  3. UC will coordinate with the UB Information Technology (UBit) teams involved with the technical aspects of launching your website

Launching your website requires the coordination of multiple teams within CIT. This usually takes three to four weeks, so please plan accordingly.

Once your site is live, it will be added to our Live DCT Websites on the UBCMS Home Page.