CMS Website Development Process - University of Houston
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General Website Development Process

Following is a general outline of how University of Houston websites are created within the CMS. For more information, please contact either Web Marketing or the CMS Team in the UIT Web Technologies group.

  1. SITE INTAKE:
    Contact from the Content Owners, and Communication about the Structural, Organizational, and Design Requirements for the Website

  2. CREATING THE SITE SHELL:
    UH-Internal Processes

  3. CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
    Content Owners Develop their Site, then Communicate a Readiness to Go Live 

  4. UH BRANDING REVIEW

  5. PRE-LAUNCH QUALITY ASSURANCE TESTING:
    a Feedback Process

  6. GO LIVE!

 


1) SITE INTAKE:
Contact from the Content Owners, and Communication about the Structural, Organizational, and Design Requirements for the Website

Requirements may come out of the following areas, or others:

    • Who is the audience for the content?
    • What is the intended takeaway for those site visitors?
      • Information and reference?
      • List of resources?
      • Documents downloads?
      • Advertise services or activities?
      • Accomplish a task?
    • How will the material be organized? What kind of Information Architecture is called for? Will the site need specialized pages such a Home page or Department page, or other specialized pages? Are there a lot of graphics, pictures, media to display?
    • How (and where) does the Site information fit in with the rest of the university, and with the rest of the university's website(s)?

Other overarching information is gathered -

    • Are there web address questions which may need to be resolved? e.g. -
      • Domain name questions
      • Any needed or requested re-directs
    • Will the area need applications development support?
      • Will online forms be used?
    • Will the area need content development support?
      • Content development may be provided by WebTech at a competitive hourly rate.
      • Specialized media content support may also be available.
    • Are there any other file management issues to be addressed?
      e.g. where will documents from a previous site, which need to be preserved and archived, physically reside?

Once enough information is gathered, UH-internal processes can begin.

 


2) CREATING THE SITE SHELL: UH-Internal Processes

Based on the site's expected needs:

    • For a site new to the CMS a new site shell, empty of content but with all expected functionality, is created within the CMS;
    • Alternately, an existing site may need to be significantly modified mechanically
      (e.g. to support significant changes for the area such as re-design, re-branding, a complete site reorganization, etc.);
    • Internal Quality Assurance testing for the new site shell, or site changes, is initiated;
    • All issues are addressed before user-access permission is added;
    • When ready, the site/site shell is released (or released back) to the content owners for development;
    • Publishing is restricted.
      Please note that new sites still in development, or sites with significant changes still in process, will be temporarily locked out of publishing the new materials to the live UH Website.

Expect Publishing to be restricted to Staging (and/or Testing) only.

The Staging and Testing website publishing areas on the UH servers are not crawled by search engines, and this restriction protects developmental materials from being found by the public before they are ready, while still allowing site developers to see exactly how their pages look and work within the UH server environment.

 


3) CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
Content Owners Develop their Site, then Communicate a Readiness to Go Live

WebTech reviews site development status vis-à-vis communications and expectations.

If judged to be ready, the Site will be forwarded on to the next two processes:

    • UH Branding Review
    • Pre-launch Quality Assurance Testing

 


4) UH BRANDING REVIEW

UH Branding Review insures that user-developed content aligns with the latest look and feel, UH identity, and general standards of functionality championed by the University of Houston.

 


5) PRE-LAUNCH QUALITY ASSURANCE TESTING: a Feedback Process

Pre-launch Quality Assurance Testing looks at the site from several different perspectives.

    • Accessibility -
      Could a site visitor with disabilities get what they need from your website?
    • Functionality -
      Are there broken links, or other issues? Does the functionality for these pages meet the expectations of a typical site visitor? of UH standards?
    • Completeness -
      Are there pages empty of content, or with insufficient or incorrect content?
    • Other issues -
      There may be other issues which can mean the pages are not yet ready to go live.

Quality Assurance will audit the site and communicate to the content developers about issues which need to be addressed before the material can go live.

Content owners will address each of the findings and signal when they are ready for any item to be reviewed again. This process will repeat until all issues have been addressed. Once all issues are addressed (pending UH Branding Review), the Site is considered to be eligible to go live.

 


6) GO LIVE!

    • Live publishing is enabled/re-enabled for the Site.
    • Web Tech usually initiates the first whole-area Live Publish, to ensure that everything goes as planned, and that the publishing process does not hit any unforeseen snags.
    • Remember that any final file management/domain issues must be resolved before site is announced live to the public.

Congratulations! Your New Website is Online!