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AAUP 2017: "Conceiving, Developing, and Creating a Great University Press Website"

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AAUP 2017: "Conceiving, Developing, and Creating a Great University Press Website"

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Chair: William Bishel, Information and Business Systems Manager, University of Texas Press
Panelists: Patricia L. Searl, Editorial and Technical Specialist, University of Virginia Press; Laura Furney, Assistant Director & Managing Editor, University Press of Colorado; Michael Regoli, Director of Electronic and Journals Publishing, Indiana University Press; Paul Grotevant, IT Manager, Web & Contract Services, University of Texas, Austin

Chair: William Bishel, Information and Business Systems Manager, University of Texas Press
Panelists: Patricia L. Searl, Editorial and Technical Specialist, University of Virginia Press; Laura Furney, Assistant Director & Managing Editor, University Press of Colorado; Michael Regoli, Director of Electronic and Journals Publishing, Indiana University Press; Paul Grotevant, IT Manager, Web & Contract Services, University of Texas, Austin

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AAUP 2017: "Conceiving, Developing, and Creating a Great University Press Website"

  1. 1. Conceiving, Developing, and Creating a Great University Press Website: Lessons Learned from Three Four Case Studies
  2. 2. Panelists Bill Bishel, Information and Business Systems Manager, University of Texas Press Patricia L. Searl, Editorial and Technical Specialist, University of Virginia Press Laura Furney, Assistant Director & Managing Editor, University Press of Colorado Michael Regoli, Director of Journals and Electronic Publishing, Indiana University Press Paul Grotevant, IT Manager, Web & Contract Services, University of Texas, Austin
  3. 3. PATRICIA L. SEARL EDITORIAL & TECHNICAL SPECIALIST THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA PRESS pls4e@virginia.edu
  4. 4. Previous Site: 2011-2016 ★ Created In-house ★ Wordpress Template ★ Book Data Separate ★ Not Mobile-Friendly
  5. 5. Goals of the New Site ★ Content Management System (CMS) ★ Mobile-Friendly ★ Improve Search/Navigation and Book Discoverability ★ Integrated Database ★ Updated Look
  6. 6. Drupal Platform ★ Popular, Reputable CMS ★ Fully Customizable ★ Large-Support Community ★ Flexible Database
  7. 7. New Site Design Process: Oct 2015-May 2016 1. Examine Traffic on Current Site (Google Analytics) 2. Base Theme Using Zurb Foundation Framework 3. Content Modeling/Organization 4. Migrate Static Content from Wordpress 5. XML Export/Import Scheme for Book Data from ONIX Feed 6. Feature Coding 7. Visual Design
  8. 8. Technology Used ★ XML ★ XSLT ★ HTML ★ CSS ★ PHP ★ Javascript ★ Photoshop ★ Drupal Framework
  9. 9. Designing In-House ★ Cost ★ Customized ★ Quick Edits/Updates ★ Limited by Staff Abilities ★ Time/Learning Curve
  10. 10. Challenges ★ Balancing Features and Front-End Ease ★ Content Modeling & Organization ★ Design by Committee ★ Understanding Drupal ★ Balancing Aesthetic Design with Mobile Accessibility
  11. 11. Tips/Lessons Learned ★ Analyze Site Traffic ★ Content-First Design ★ Use a Front-End Framework (Bootstrap, Zurb etc) ★ Perform User Testing ★ Budget 5-10 Hours Consulting for any Roadblocks
  12. 12. UPRESS.VIRGINIA.EDU
  13. 13. PATRICIA L. SEARL EDITORIAL & TECHNICAL SPECIALIST THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA PRESS pls4e@virginia.edu
  14. 14. Conceiving, Developing, and Creating a Great University Press Website: Lessons Learned from Three Case Studies Michael Regoli Director of Journals and Electronic Publishing INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
  15. 15. The Plan INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Determine website functionality • Decide on the overall look and feel, develop site map • Identify preferred navigability, ensure accessibility, mobile and tablet responsiveness • What is on the home/landing page, and top level containers (subject areas, new releases, about page, and so on)
  16. 16. The Process INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Teams created by functional area (marketing, acquisitions, operations, customer service, etc.) • Conduct research, develop plans, provide draft reports • Meetings, meetings, meetings • Create a final report to serve as blueprint for a Request for Proposals (RFP)
  17. 17. The Teams INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Analytics • Audience, Branding, Content, and Functionality • Design, Navigation, and Vendor Identification • Technical Requirements
  18. 18. Analytics Team INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Determine usage trends • Identify most frequently access areas of the site • Understand geographic reach • Develop a general visitor demographic profile
  19. 19. Audience, Branding, Content, and Functionality Team INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Identify key audiences, stakeholders • Reinforce, strengthen branding and messaging • Determine content to enhance value • Navigation elements, define experiences by audience
  20. 20. INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Consumer Navigation
  21. 21. INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Student Navigation
  22. 22. Design, Navigation, Vendor Identification Team INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Identify features and “the look” • What is/is not working on the current site • Emulate those features found in best-in-class websites • Identify potential design groups to approach for an eventual RFP
  23. 23. Sample Front Page Design INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS
  24. 24. Sample Title Page INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS INDIANAUNIVERSITY INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Days of Knight HOW THE GENERAL CHANGED MY LIFE KIRK HASTON Category: Sports | Memoir $22.00 What happens when a 6’ 9” kid from Lobelville, Tennessee is recruited by legendary basketball coach Bob Knight? Kirk Haston’s life was changed forever with just a two-minute phone call. Containing previously unknown Knight stories, anecdotes, and choice quotes, fans will gain an inside look at the notoriously private man and his no-nonsense coaching style. Which past Hoosier basketball greats returned to talk to and practice with current teams? How did Knight mentally challenge his players in practices? How did the players feel when Knight was f red? In this touching and humorous book, READ AN EXCERPT Look Inside | Back Cover ADD TO CART Paperback Ebook – 1 + SEE MORE ▼ SHARE: PRAISE “I’ve always had the ultimate respect for Coach Knight as one of the great coaching minds of our time. When I was a young coach, he took me under his wing and provided valuable knowledge, just as he had with so many of his players. Thanks to Kirk Haston, a player I once recruited and have always appreciated, readers will gather insight as to what made Coach Knight successful, while also of ering a view to a side of him that not all of us were fortunate enough to see.” —Coach Tom Izzo, Michigan State Spartans “I’ve read lots of words about Bobby Knight, but never from one of his players. I can’t wait to read this.” —Tony Kornheiser, co-host of ESPN’s Pardon the Int erruption and former sport swriter for The Washington Post “Here’s a Bet You Didn’t Know, Hoosier Fan: among IU’s 3-year career players, only Scott May, Archie Dees and Walt Bellamy outscored Kirk Haston; only Bellamy, Dees SEE MORE ▼ ABOUT KIRK HASTON Kirk Haston was a member of the Indiana Hoosiers basketball team from 1997–2001 ALSO BY KIRK HASTON Explore Publish Connect Meet | Give CREATE AN ACCOUNT | SIGN-IN | MY PROJECTS
  25. 25. Technical Requirements Team INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Recommendation of content management system as well as the key functionality of the site • Blog integration, content authoring capabilities • Content integration • Author and community engagement tools, social media • E-Commerce, customer relations management (CRM) considerations
  26. 26. The RFP Process INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • State university brings levels of complexity to the process • Auxiliary of the Indiana University Library System • Vendors appreciated the depth and coverage of our blueprint
  27. 27. The Dos and Don’ts INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS • Do the homework, know where you want to go • Devise realistic goals, and develop a reasonable plan • Involve all staff and stakeholders, internally and externally • Budget accordingly in terms of your crucial resources: time, funding, and staffing • Don’t rush the process • Don’t underestimate your crucial resources, especially staff time • Don’t focus exclusively on one component like design
  28. 28. INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS Michael Regoli Director of Journals and Electronic Publishing regoli@indiana.edu
  29. 29. Laura Furney, Assistant Director & Managing Editor, University Press of Colorado http://upcolorado.com/
  30. 30. From:
  31. 31. To:
  32. 32. A University IT Shop’s Perspective on University Press Website Development Paul Grotevant IT Manager, Web & Custom Solutions Team ITS Applications University of Texas at Austin
  33. 33. Who am I? • Part of UT Austin central IT department • Provide “recharge” website maintenance and development services in addition to centrally-funded core services • Team of eight Drupal developers
  34. 34. How do we work? • Typical custom website development project: • Scope includes branding, custom page types, minimal interactive functionality • 100-300 hours • 1-2 developers (front-end/back-end), plus project management (20%) • Process • Initial conversations • Estimate • Agreement • Development • Testing/QA • Launch
  35. 35. How was a University Press site different from our typical project? • Unique branding needs • Extensive custom functionality needs: • Page types for books and journals • E-commerce/shopping cart • Automated imports from inventory management system • Integration with University credit card gateway • Tailored search experience • Larger than average budget
  36. 36. Approaching this project differently… • Start process with discovery engagement estimate: • 20-40 hours for documenting existing behavior and business processes • 40-80 hours for prototyping and technical solution analysis • 15-30 hours for documenting requirements and building estimate • Deliver final report from discovery engagement, including detailed bid for build phase • If desired, proceed to build phase – no hard commitment up front
  37. 37. Discovery Engagement Process • On-site interviews with Press staff • 3-4 meetings of 1.5-2 hours each with different groups • Developer analysis of existing site • Extensive prototyping to explore viability of candidate e-commerce framework • Meeting with University Accounting to discuss requirements for credit card gateway integration
  38. 38. Discovery Deliverables • Final summary report (9 pages): • Documentation of current business processes • Limitations of existing system(s) • Recommended system design (high-level) • Conclusion/high-level estimate • Bid estimate (4 pages) • Detailed estimate with hours breakdown per task (4 pages)
  39. 39. What did Discovery provide? • Established documented basis of agreement for goals of project • Provided relatively low investment way for Press to figure out what they were getting into; option to bail out before build phase • Allowed ample time for technical exploration/prototyping for a previously unexplored use case, increasing confidence of estimates for build phase • Build phase quickly resulted in demonstrable results, due to pre-work in prototyping • Built trust between Press and IT teams by showing that we deeply understood their business problems/processes
  40. 40. Moving on to the Build Phase • Five months from kickoff to launch • Sprint demo meetings every 3-4 weeks • Target “MVP” for launch, prioritizing some tasks/features as being okay to wait until post-launch • Budget discussions – keep an eye on the hours, and talk honestly about how to stay on target if something goes wrong • Cloud platform means being able to build in parallel, and just “flip the switch” to launch the new site on a given day
  41. 41. Critical Success Factors • Discovery set expectations correctly on both sides • Press staff had extensive experience with an existing commerce solution, so they knew what they liked and what they needed in a new system • Developers and press staff used a shared system for making all work visible as task “cards” and discussing issues asynchronously • Press provided highly engaged staff to represent business needs, and were available for frequent demo check-ins (2-3 week cycles) • Use of existing, flexible commerce solution for Drupal greatly reduced development time • Mixing in-person and virtual meeting modalities
  42. 42. What questions should you be prepared to answer from a development team? • What role does your website play in your overall business strategy? • What are the pain points with your current website? • Who is your primary target audience? • What is your budget? • Do you need to sync book/journal data from a canonical source system to your website? • If doing ecommerce, describe all of your back-end business processes for order fulfillment in detail
  43. 43. What questions should you ask from a development team? • Should we use separate or integrated CMS and commerce solutions? • Should we use a custom or software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution? • What is the anticipated life-cycle of the selected solutions? • How does the selected solution handle PCI compliance for payments? • How will the selected solution integrate with my inventory system? • How easily can the selected solution be customized for specific business use cases? • Promo codes/discounts • Examination copies • Sales tax collection • Domestic vs. international shipping • Flat rate vs. calculated shipping rates

Editor's Notes

  • Thanks to Bill Bishel who put together this session from conversations we had last year in Philadelphia. What seemed like a good idea at the time, I agreed to talk about the process that we were going through at Indiana and would bring to Austin lessons learned, as well as show off our new website.

    Let me walk you through the process that we took. Your approach may be vastly different, but make no mistake: the process is time and labor intensive and you hope when it’s done, you have a fully-functional website to be proud of. (If only for a couple weeks)
  • As part of the a five year strategic plan, our director gathered a team of twelve staff and provided us with the following charges
  • Gather twelve staff across each functional area (marketing, acquisitions, operations, etc), divided into teams focusing on:
    Analytics
    audience/messaging/content
    design/navigation/vendors
    technical requirements

    Those teams conducted research, developed plans, provided draft reports
    We held regularly meetings as one group to discuss progress, go over questions, revise and condense team sections for final report
    Final report was an overarching blueprint for where we are with the current site, and where we plan to go
    Report serves as a blueprint for the Request for Proposal (RFP) process
  • here are the teams

  • Team 1: Analytics 
    Determine trends in usage by time of day, day of week. Identify spikes—traffic jumps during promotions and sales events
    Identify most frequently access areas of the site
    Understand geographic reach 
    Develop a general visitor demographic profile via Google Analytics 
    How are we being found, what search terms are being used for discovery?

  • Audience Branding Content and Functionality
    Identify key audiences, stakeholders (such as authors, future authors, customers, series editors, graduate students
    Reinforce, strenghten branding, convey messages of innovation, relevance, and energy
    Content to enhance value such as:
    author portal
    how to stay stay abreast within fields of research, 
    communities of conversations
    Functionality should include simplicity, enhance engagement, encourage exploration
    [[ screen shots of current site, concept for new site, navigation flows for graduate students, consumers ]]

  • Audience Branding Content and Functionality
    The Audience Team envisioned this as a sample navigation through the site

  • Audience Branding Content and Functionality
    The same team predicted this path for a student visiting the site looking for philospophy titles
  • Design, Navigation, Vendor ID Team
    • Identify features and “the look”
    • Appearance and navigation should be interactive, engaging, and responsive
    • Avoid overwhelming or confusing the visitor 
    • What is/is not working on the current site
    • Emulate those features found in best-in-class websites
    • Identify potential design groups to approach for an eventual RFP
  • The design team provided several iterations of wireframes and mockups.
    Here is a sample front page mock up
  • Here is a sample page for a book. Database driven; content derived dynamically from title management system
  • The technical requirements team focused their work on
    • the spectrum of the technical requirements of a content management system as well as the key functionality of the site including
    • Platform (Content Management System) Selection
    • Access Controls (role-based authoring workflows), multi-site capabilities 
    • Accessibility
    • Blog Integration
    • Content Authoring Capabilities
    • Forms Customization
    • Content integration (from title management system), search engine optimization (SEO)
    • Author and Community Engagement tools, social media integrations
    • eCommerce, Customer Relations Management (CRM) Considerations

  • The FRP Process
    As an auxiliary within the IU Library system, the press was authorized to use the vendor that redesigned the library website
    This didn’t work out. Baseline quote destroyed the budget: $200K+
    Other vendors that were “blessed” by campus couldn’t perform the task, as our scope of work was too complex, lacked technical understanding, skills
    Currently working with university communications department who wish to start with focus groups, deep dives into current site. Proposal is modular, doesn’t cover eCommerce, or database integration
    Funding came in for new title management system to replace existing system
    Too many moving parts, forcing us to table the website
    Vendors applauded our blueprint. Complimented on it being comprehensive and thorough. Very well thought out.


  • The Dos and Don’ts

    • DO
    • Do the homework, know where you want to go
    • Devise realistic goals, and develop a reasonable plan
    • Involve all staff stakeholders, internally and externally
    • Budget accordingly in terms of your crucial resources: time, funding, and staffing
    • Don’t
    • Rush the process 
    • Underestimate your crucial resources, especially staff time
    • Don’t focus exclusively on one component like design 

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