Summer 2022 - BIG updates, please read

Hi, Drupalites!

We haven't sent an email to our webmasters since February. Our subject line says "BIG updates" and "big" is meant in two ways:

  1. We need to share some significant announcements.
  2. There are more announcements than usual, so it's also a bit of a lengthy email.

Drupal 9 Is Coming - What Does It Mean to You?

For the many Drupalites who have heard that the university is gearing up to transition from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9 (D9), and for those of you who have not yet heard the news, it is true! Organizations worldwide are undertaking this transition because Drupal 7 is being phased out due to end-of-life support (by Drupal, not us). This change at Kent State should go into place prior to or early in the fall semester.

What You Need to Know:

  1. D9 should not affect your public-facing website.
  2. Rather, the editing experience will be different. The change actually impacts the backend of your website and will only be obvious to web editors. We are hopeful it will be an improved editing experience.
  3. UCM will provide updated training and will revise training sessions and training videos.
    1. We are still formalizing a timeline for our training plan and rollout. We will develop a timeline in early to mid July, based on deliverables Information Technology expects late this month from the vendor assisting with this transition.
  4. We'll also handle uploaded files differently; they will have a more Kent-oriented URL vs the one you currently see. As a result, after our changeover you will see PDF URLs:
    1. More like this: file.kent.edu/filename
    2. Not this: https://www-s3-live.kent.edu/s3fs-root/s3fs-public/file/filename.pdf
  5. There will be a short window during which edits to the web pages cannot be made unless it is a dire emergency. That timeframe will be shared in advance.

Academic Webmasters, Please Note:

As part of our overall technological advancements and continuous improvement initiatives, we will also implement a new approach to presenting content on academic program pages next year. That plan, which complements the transition to D9, is in the early planning phases. Academic deans, department chairs and academic department webmasters will be involved in this process.


G4, GA4 to Replace Current Google Analytics Universal - Are We Ready?

The Web Team has started to receive inquiries from many webmasters who have expressed concern about our readiness to transition to G4, aka GA4 aka Google Analytics 4. Rest assured, the UCM Web Team is aware of this change, which goes into effect in July 2023, when Google sunsets the current Google Analytics Universal interface and data repository. We also know that historical data, beyond six months, will not be retained by Google by the end of 2023. While we don’t have all of the answers yet, we are positioned for a successful transition. We established our Google Analytics 4 property in December 2021 so that we are already actively collecting data. The Web Team is also conducting research and discovery to establish a plan to address management of historical data, evaluation and protection of current GTM and event/click tracking, as well as connectivity to any existing data studio reports and the impact to UTM urls. As we learn more, we’ll share and launch a relevant education plan - perhaps as part of one of our soon-to-return Web Best Practices Workshops.


You’ve Asked & We Can Implement - Almost! Your Help Is Required

In the near future, we are going to set a link on the street address in your website footer so that a visitor may use Google Maps to find your location. Webmasters and website visitors alike have been asking for this enhancement. We can’t wait to activate this feature.

However, there is a caveat! This requires a webmaster for every website to take action.

  1. Check the information in your footer
  2. Make any necessary adjustments based on the examples below
  3. Access this form to let us know you have taken action because we do not want Google dinging us for broken links.

We really do need your help, much like we often help you when you submit a Helpdesk ticket or email us directly. Our small and mighty Web Team is too small to do this lift.

What works? What doesn’t?

If your footer address includes any information EXCEPT the street address of your department, you must remove that by Friday, July 15, to prevent broken links. Examples of extraneous information that will force a broken link include building names and room numbers. 

This will not work correctly:
Administrative Services Building
1500 Horning Road
Kent, OH 44240

This will work correctly:
1500 Horning Road
Kent, OH 44240

Thank you in advance for your support!


Process for Deleting PDFs - PDF Alert

We have recently discovered that the steps to delete a PDF from the website are not working as anticipated. Why does this matter to you? It means an old PDF can be found via Google search even if you believe you have taken the proper steps to delete the file from your website and conscientiously delinked the file.

As a result, if you need to remove a PDF from your website, please submit a support ticket, so that a Drupal web administrator can delete the file from the server. Proper deletion from the server needs to take place by a domain-level administrator so that the file is not found by Google.

Until repaired, Drupal users will not be able to fully delete PDFs from the server. 

Updates to this issue can be found on the UCM Web Support page.


Department Directory Listing Name Displays

A faculty/staff member’s name on a Department Directory Listing will now be pulled from the Employee Name field on the Department Directory Listing instead of the Full Name field on the Profile. This will allow a faculty or staff member to include a degree or accreditation on one Department Directory Listing and exclude it on others where they feel like it may not be appropriate. 

Department Directory Listing Sample


Department Name Changes - Please Audit Your Website

As stewards of content on www.kent.edu and all of its websites, please be aware of these department name changes so that you can update text references on your website. These include:

Immediate:

  • From Recreational Services to: Recreation and Wellness Services

Starting July 1:

Please be sure to update at your earliest convenience.


Web Best Practices Workshop

The Web Team will be bringing back the Web Best Practices Workshop, which includes, and is not limited to, the following: 

Learn the Best Web Practices and how to utilize them with tools like Google Analytics and Siteimprove.

  • Identify Goals Yearly
  • Monitor Analytics Monthly
  • Control Quality Monthly
  • Audit Content Each Semester
  • Test Usability Yearly
  • Improve Conversion Yearly

Please let us know your interest level, your availability preference and anything you are looking to learn about web best practices in this future training by completing this feedback form:  https://kent.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3DyqPpqpkeuqtka 


Friendly Reminder: Blackboard Retirement 

Helping our partners in Information Technology remind everyone that Blackboard is going away permanently on June 30. Please update your web pages and social media with references/links to Canvas. Specifically:

  • Blackboard Text - Replace instances of Blackboard with Canvas.
  • LMS URL - Replace learn.kent.edu with canvas.kent.edu.
  • Mobile App - Replace Blackboard Instructor and/or Blackboard Student App(s) with the Canvas Teacher and Canvas Student App(s).
  • Blackboard Collaborate -  Replace Blackboard Collaborate with Microsoft Teams.
  • Support Website - Replace www.kent.edu/it/blackboard with www.kent.edu/canvas.

New resources to consider: 

Please visit our website (kent.edu/canvas), for additional updates, training and support. 


Please email ldanes@kent.edu with any questions. Your inquiry will be triaged and addressed by the webbie most “in the know” on your particular question.

Thank you for your continued contributions to your Drupal website,

Web Team
Jared Boehm, Lead Application Developer
Ayla Danes, Student Web Support Specialist
Lin Danes, Director of Web Services
Rob DiVincenzo, Senior Applications Developer
Doug Flower, Digital Accessibility Specialist, DoIT
Tyrone Fontaine, Web Designer
Alison Haynes, Digital Accessibility Compliance Coordinator, DoIT
Alex Herbers, Web Designer
Tim Priester, Web Designer & Services Lead
Sara Smith, Digital Strategist and Technologist
Jaden Spicer, Student Web Support Specialist

POSTED: Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 1:43pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 1:43pm