New Resource Opens to Campus Web Developers
||Providing the primary leadership and organizing drive for the Web Standards Group this past year have been, from left, co-chairs Joe Sabado, Ann Ricchiazzi, and Ann Dundon.
The Information Technology Board this month approved new campus recommendations for Web site design that would establish standard tools and resources to aid technical creation of the pages, such as browser compatibility, user accessibility, and a common graphic identity for UCSB, among many other elements.
In effect, the voluntary guidelines, located at <www.ucsb.edu/webguide
>, provide a mother lode from which Web developers and editors can extract authoritative information, and links to similar information, to answer common questions.
Some key University policies, such as regarding advertising and, when applicable, data security, are also easily available to developers.
“We recognized that while we focused on technical questions, like getting front end and back end coordination on Web sites, we also needed to give examples of UCSB policies that govern content presentation,” says Ann Dundon, co-chair of the Web Standards and Content Working Group (WSG), which spearheaded the guideline-formation process. Policies on copyright and use of images, such as the official UC Seal, are other examples.
The WSG is hosting a Web Standards Workshop on Jan. 31 to
help answer questions from Web developers about the new resource. It is free
and begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Environmental Health and Safety Building training
room 1045. Online registration is requested at <http://ehs.ucsb.edu/4DAction/WebCourseSessionList
If it is full, contact Julie Koppel (x8997) to request an additional workshop.
The WSG was formed in 2005 on the initiative of student affairs IT manager Lubomir Bojilov and the Information Technology Planning Group, WSG’s mother committee. It included Web developers, designers, and administrators from across the campus. In addition to Dundon, its leaders were Ann Ricchiazzi, Joe Sabado, and Eric Mayes. Dundon, Ricchiazzi, and Sabado co-chaired the WSG’s first year; Dundon and Mayes are leading the group this year.
As a result of continuous communication and a careful vetting process, many good suggestions rose to the surface. “There was a lot of stuff we had not been aware of,” recalls Dundon. She cites the technology used to aid those with visual or motion impairment as examples of tools to widen accessibility.
For public institutions, like the University, there is also a legal responsibility to enhance accessibility as new laws and conventions affect how those systems conduct their business.
“These standards are an immensely important resource for UC Santa Barbara,” said Paul Desruisseaux, associate vice chancellor for public affairs. He worked closely with WSG as it developed its recommendations.
“Just about every department and campus unit has a Web site, and there is considerable turnover in the staffing of these sites, so having a central repository for information on what campus sites should be sure to include, and other considerations, is extremely valuable.
“The leaders of the Web Standards Group and everyone involved with it have done a superb job in developing the standards and the Web site that features them,” he added.
Equally important for Dundon and her group was building a network of interested participants within the campus community of Web developers. “It has been extremely useful,” she said, and apparently will continue to be so. “WSG is already receiving requests for opinions” and interpretations of the new guidelines.