University Web Services
We serve to realize the strategic imperative to “tell the university’s story better” on the World Wide Web and other digital communication media. We do this by ensuring the institution’s digital information is clear, concise, accurate, relevant, and easy to find. Following are a few key focus areas.
Usability is a top factor associated with return visits and the time end users will spend on the university’s website. We focus a great deal of energy on interactions, design of user interface and behavior of end users to ensure the user experience is a good one.
High Traffic Page and Application Support
We are responsible for the university’s home page and other high-traffic Web pages such as Tier One, Comet Connection and Creating the Future. Public-facing applications we support include News Center, Google Customized Search Engine (CSE), Comet Calendar, and Academic Programs.
Mobile Device Support
Websites and emails are increasingly viewed on mobile devices. In 2014, 19% of visits to the www.utdallas.edu home page came through a tablet or smartphone. University Web Services is actively supporting this trend by implementing responsive design principles to dynamically size the Web page or email to fit the reader’s screen whether it’s a large desktop monitor, tablet or small smartphone screen. Responsive design obviates the need to develop multiple versions of pages for the different devices. Many of our Web templates and mass email templates have already been fitted with this code and are available for institutional use.
Keyword search is the most popular way of traversing the university’s vast website. Studies show that, on average, websites that give user’s a search option see approximately 60% of their end users use keyword search to navigate compared navigation bars and menus. Websites with younger audiences see higher percentages of navigational search. We work with the university’s community of digital communicators to help them embed keyword search into their pages and make their content easy to find, too. See information on title tags on the Web Requirements page for the top factor in increasing Web page “findability.”
Blocked images, tiny fonts on a smartphone, and getting trapped in “Junk Mail” are just some of the problems you may encounter when trying to send to a large email list. University Web Services can answer questions about your mass email and make sure it functions in email programs as envisioned. Our editing ensures clarity and congruence with other university messaging. And our quality testing covers desktop email, Webmail (such as gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.com) and smartphone email programs such as iOS Mail and the gmail app. If you have never worked with us, plan a specific day for your mass email to appear in users’ inboxes and contact Web Services at least two weeks in advance. Learn more.
Website Redesign and Templates
University Web Services provides Web templates for all sizes of websites.
Executed well, a website redesign can be a powerful means to attract and serve prospective and current students, faculty members or the specific audience you serve. Or a redesign can be a complete waste of energy. We would like to help you have the former. University Web Services specializes in creating attractive, compelling, usable websites in a way that highlights usability over flashy effects, effective written content that search engines can find, and future growth. If you are considering a redesign (or original design) for a high-visibility project or you would like our assistance on a smaller project, please complete our client survey. Ask other key stakeholders in your department to complete one too so we have a well-rounded view of what is needed beyond the front page of your website. Be ready to name a subject matter expert in your area who can give the time it will take to audit, review, edit, create and compile the content. This person should also complete a client survey. Learn more.
Many employees need the ability to edit pages without requiring a Web developer’s assistance. To that end, University Web Services supports a highly customized WordPress content management system (CMS) for institutional use (sorry, no blogs allowed). Staff equipped with excellent grammar and spelling skills can usually be trained to edit and public Web pages with 15 minutes of orientation. If the website is not on CMS today, making the decision to move to CMS often goes hand-in-hand with a website redesign.
The University complies with Texas Administrative Code 206.70 Accessibility Standard for its Web pages. Learn more.
Intercom is the official University-wide newsletter for UT Dallas faculty and staff members. This periodic publication is designed to provide University employees with important information necessary for the workplace, as well as community news that supports the University’s mission. There is no “opt-out” provision for this communication.
We have WebTrends Analytics data available for most institutional pages or we can work with your Web developer to set them up. This service does not extend to personal pages. Contact us at ext. 4995 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to gain access. (Account holders: Log in here to WebTrends 9 or WebTrends 10.)
Urgent and Crisis Communication
University Web Services is responsible for delivering urgent or crisis-related information on the university’s home page and mobile front page. We test this system monthly, as part of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) with tests of other systems managed by Periodicals, University Police and the Environmental Health and Safety office.
We can assist you with collecting revenue online using the university’s Marketplace system. If you need to establish a new storefront, read the university’s credit card policy and complete a merchant application . If you have questions about an existing storefront or Marketplace in general, please contact us.