Creating Departmental Websites

A guide for website owners and content managers

knightThe person who initiates the development of a website is considered its "owner". websites can only be initiated by a vice president, dean, department chair, or director. The website owner and the person who actually develops the supplied content into a web-ready product are rarely the same person. The person who develops the website is known as its Content Manager or CM and is appointed by the site owner. (Site owners should see: Guidelines for the care and maintenance of your Content Manager.)

The following guidelines are for both the initiator/owner of the site and their CMs.

Before You Start

Read CCRI's Web publishing policies and Web Publishing Guidelines & Requirements before you begin the planning of your site. Refer back to these guidelines as you develop your website.

Other great online resources for planning your website can be found in the Web Style Guide, Ch. 1 and at the website, which is a one-stop source for government web designers to learn how to make websites more usable, useful, and accessible.

website Plan

Planning: The more time you spend planning your site before developing the web pages, the less time you will spend re-working the more time-consuming web development work. Content (text and images) can be developed and circulated for review and approval in a Word document. In fact, most people will find it easier to make changes or comments when it is in Word.

Discuss the information that you want to provide on the website within your department/organization. Get everyone who will have a say after the site is built, involved before the site is built. For example, your department head should be involved in the planning stages of your website; they should not be seeing it for the first time after it's already developed in to a website. This early involvement of all participants in the process will result in much lighter revisions once you begin to develop the actual pages and circulate them for feedback.

Set up an initial meeting with Web Services to outline the information that you want to provide and any concerns or questions you may have.

Web Publishing Policies

  1. Who may publish on the website
    1. Pages linked to the CCRI home page and upper-level pages may be created by academic departments, administrative departments, college-sanctioned organizations or committees, and official student organizations.
    2. Faculty and staff may publish professional pages. The author bears full responsibility for the contents of these Web pages. For questions about faculty webs or Blackboard contact the Center for Instruction & Technology (CIT)
    3. Each entity wishing to publish on the web is responsible for naming a Web Content Manager who will maintain that entity’s web pages. The Web Content Manager must be a full time CCRI employee or a permanent part-time employee. A vice president, dean, department chair, or director must approve the allocation of this responsibility.
  2. Web Content Managers (CM)
    1. A full-time (or permanent part-time) CCRI employee approved by a vice president, dean, department chair, or director
    2. Responsible for updating and maintaining the appointing organization's web pages using the content management system, OmniUpdate.
  3. Publishing Requirements - Standards required for all department and organization site pages
  4. Publishing Guidelines - The contents of the site, including all department, organization and program sub-sites, should follow these guidelines:
    1. Date Stamps
      1. Web pages will contain a date stamp declaring the date of last revision to the page, which displays automatically after being published from within OmniUpdate.
    2. Original Content
      1. Content Managers should publish original content, which can only be found on their site, and for which the department or organization is responsible.

        **IMPORTANT** Web pages that provide the reader with information on course offerings or descriptions should provide links to the online schedule and catalog information rather than duplicating it on their site. Duplication of catalog or online schedule information on organization, faculty or staff websites is prohibited -per order of the President's Office.
    3. Academic Content
      1. To ensure appropriate protection, faculty should limit access to copyrighted content to only their enrolled students utilizing Blackboard. Access should require authentication by enrolled students.
    4. Accessibility
      1. Web Content Managers must use the provided page templates (see Requirements). These templates are developed using best practices for information design, which comply with federal and state accessibility laws. See:
        1. Federal: Section 508: The Road to Accessibility
        2. State: Rhode Island Government : Accessibility Policy
      2. Reasonable recommendations for additions to the templates and style sheets may be accommodated by contacting Web Services

Appoint a Web Content Manager

web monkeyYour department/organization/program head (a vice president, dean, department chair, or director) must designate a Web Content Manager (CM) to develop and coordinate your organization's content on the web and update the site using the Content Management System (CMS). An CM must be either a full time or permanent part-time CCRI employee (see Who may publish on the website). A Vice President, Associate VP, Dean, Department Chair, or Director must approve the allocation of this responsibility to the nominated CM.

Please note: With the new CMS there can be more than one Content Manager for a site. It is possible to form "content management teams" for sites, thus helping to lighten the burden on one individual. The CM will be trained in basic web development and editing in the content management system by Web Services, then given login access to your website. The Content Manager’s Agreement details the responsibilities of the CM. The appointed CM must complete the form and submit it online.

Content Manager Training

Cover of HTML, XHTML, and CSS: VQS The CM will be trained on how to develop web documents on our staging server and publish them to the live server. The CM can register for training sessions offered by the Web Services division of Information Technology by e-mailing [email protected].

We would also suggest your organization purchase a couple of good introductory books on XHTML and CSS. One we would recommend is, "HTML, XHTML, & CSS" by Elizabeth Castro (pictured on right).

Developing your site

Once the department/organization has named a CM and the CM has had a brief preliminary training session regarding procedures for publishing to the CCRI website, Web Services will create a web on the staging server where the CM can develop and test their web pages.

The organization's website will contain page templates that include the CCRI style elements. The CM must utilize these templates for page content.

You will need to use the most up-to-date version of Firefox when working in the CMS (which is a web-based system), but you should be sure to view your pages after publishing in IE as well.

Testing your site

The CMS has a very accurate "browser" built into its previewing feature so that you can view pages before publishing them to the live server.

Be sure you test your site, after it's been published, with the browsers most frequently used by visitors to the CCRI site.

At this time the most popular browser, world-wide, is Internet Explorer.

You need a browser that supports iframes to use this page.

Publishing your site

Once the site has been developed and tested by the CM on the staging server (accessible from within OUCampus) the Content Manager may publish the website. After being published, the web address (URL) should be sent to anyone within the organization who was involved in the approval of the content so that the newly published site can be reviewed.

After the site is published to the production (live) web server, the site is then accessible to the world via the WWW.

Special considerations when developing electronic forms

Information TechnologyIt is the CM's responsibility to test the form.

Depending on how the form is set-up, testing may include some or all of the following:

  • filling-out and submitting the form online
  • Reviewing the confirmation page online
  • Reviewing any e-mail sent to the CM (or others) from the form

It is also the responsibility of the CM to request the download of any spreadsheet generated by the form. The live spread sheet is not accessible to the CM directly --it must be downloaded, converted to an Excel file and sent via email to the CM from Web Services. You may request the spreadsheet to be downloaded on whatever timetable it's most useful to you: once at the end of the form's use or periodically during the life of the form; for example: the first of the month, every Friday, every morning, etc.

Many forms have a termination date. It is the responsibility of the CM to follow-up with Web Services in order to remove or de-activate any forms which have a termination date affixed to them or to extend the original termination date. This is important because the CM does not have access to the live forms and cannot directly remove a form which is no longer wished to be active.

Linking to your site from the CCRI home page or other top level pages

The Marketing & Communications Department determines which sites/pages should be linked to from the CCRI user index pages, e.g. For Students, College Directory, College Depts., etc. or receive temporary promotional links on the college home page. You may submit these type of requests to [email protected]. Permanent links on the aforementioned pages are reserved for the most frequently visited and/or requested areas of our site, as determined by the website stats.

Ongoing Maintenance

The CM maintains web content in the departmental web in a timely fashion and reviews all changes made to pages by viewing them on the live site after they are published.

The CM should notify Marketing & Communications at [email protected] about significant new content that may be considered as features on the college's home page.

Important: Removing files from your live site. Simply removing a link to a file on a given page and republishing the page does not make the formerly linked file inaccessible by visitors to our site. Since any file on the live server can be found via search engine, it is the responsibility of the CM to periodically check that obsolete files have been removed from the live server. This can be done by following the steps in this OmniUpdate tutorial.

Related Links

Last Updated: 4/9/20