Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – July 6, 2015

Updates

Tweaks & Fixes

  • We have removed some extra markup from the Drupal RSS Page content type. There is no visual difference, but there had been some hidden content that included a link that directed people back to the same page they were already on. Google crawled this link and it had a minor impact on our site search engine optimization due to duplicate content being displayed.
  • We have updated the ROBOTS.txt file on public WordPress sites for both Middlebury and MIIS so that global media files (images, CSS, JavaScript) referenced by themes and plugins are allowed to be included in the index. Google changed their indexer to penalize pages that included references to resources that were being blocked by ROBOTS.txt.
  • Accessibility: we’ve added a hidden label to the Google Custom Search Engine fields that are embedded in Drupal site content, such as on the Helpdesk website. This is similar to the accessibility improvement that we made for the global search field in the top right.
  • Accessibility: the title of the section pages (e.g. ‘About Middlebury’, ‘Student Life’, ‘Sustainability’) is now included in the markup as text, in addition to the image used for the parallax effect as you scroll left-to-right in the waveform.

Weekly Web Updates – June 29, 2015

New Features

By default in WordPress you cannot add tags or categories to pages. These are only available for posts. We’ve added the Post Tags and Categories for Pages plugin. You can enable this to add tags and categories to your pages.

We had been using the ShareThis module for Drupal to provide share links for news stories on the Middlebury and MIIS websites. The ShareThis service provides reports on the number of shares to each platform, but we weren’t using the reports and the trackers that the service adds to do this were numerous. We’ve replaced ShareThis with the Drupal service_links module, which provides links to share content without third-party trackers. We’re still using ShareThis on the Museum of Art and 25th Reunion site, but will replace it with Service Links on those as well.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • An archive copy of the 2014-2015 Handbook site is now available as a PDF.
  • Fonts on the WRMC site have been normalized to use the Google Fonts EB Garamond, Arvo, and Paytone One, ensuring that the correct fonts are loaded on all platforms. The site had previously been using some fonts that were only available on Macs.
  • Fixed a CSS issue with the tabs below the scrolling banner on the MCSE site.

SiteImprove System Maintenance June 25

The service will be unavailable for an hour later this week.

Due to essential server maintenance, our Siteimprove Response service will be unavailable from 11:00 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 24 to 12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, June 25.  During this hour, we’ll be unable to monitor or alert on customer response checkpoints. However, just because we’re getting some shut eye doesn’t mean you’re in the dark: our new status page will report when the scheduled maintenance begins, and when the period concludes.

You can view the system status and sign up for alerts here.

Weekly Web Updates – June 22, 2015

New Features

A new website for Science and Mathematics at Middlebury is live. A lot of work from faculty and staff in these departments, as well as College Communications went into putting this together, especially from Jonathan Kemp and Wendy Shook. Check out the new video about teaching these subjects in the liberal arts.

When authoring a News story in the Middlebury Drupal site, there is now an additional checkbox at the bottom of the form to “Show Media Images”. If you check this, a row of 100×100 image thumbnails will appear below your story’s content. The thumbnails will be of the images that you included in your story’s body content as well as the top-right featured image. Each thumbnail will link to the full-size version of the image, so that it can be easily downloaded and shared.

Also new to News content in the Middlebury Drupal site is that the “Show Publish on date for attribution” checkbox will be checked by default. Since we don’t print content attributions, this won’t change the appearance of your content. However, this is required to be checked in order to automatically sort News content in reverse chronological order on the page. With this checked, you will no longer need to manually sort News content on the page.

Updates

* These updates apply only to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hub.

Tweaks and Fixes

  • A bug that was preventing the Metatag module’s form from working on the page settings form in Drupal has been resolved.
  • The Google Analytics tracking code on the MIIS website has been replaced with a Google Tag Manager, which allows us to manage analytics and tracking without needing to make code changes to the site.
  • The CAS login blocks will no longer have an empty header tag appear above them. This was removed to improve site accessibility support.
  • The settings page for the WordPress Video Plugin will now appear again in WordPress’ administration interface. This was not appearing due to a deprecated version of the function that checks user permissions. The page contains a link to the plugin’s documentation.
  • The height of the left column on department pages is once again correctly calculated to avoid the overlapping of the navigation and address regions.
  • RSS feeds displayed in www.middlebury.edu and www.miis.edu via the “RSS Page” module will now refresh approximately every hour rather than every two hours.

Weekly Web Updates – June 15, 2015

New Features

The Newsroom site now has nicely designed social media buttons and individual news stories have similar share buttons. Hovering over the email button no longer automatically opens a pop-out window. You have to manually click the button.

You can now specify the text color and whether to show the title and byline in Drupal Vimeo embeds. See our updated documentation on Drupal Shortcodes for more information.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

Accessibility

We are beginning to make changes to the site to improve its accessibility according to the WCAG guidelines. In particular, this week:

  • The label for the “Search Midd” form is no longer hidden using “display:none”. Instead it is now very narrow so that it won’t appear visually in a browser, but will be read on assistive devices.
  • The labels for the email newsletter signup form on the Newsroom site now correctly correspond to their checkboxes.
  • The links in the footer to the alumni sites that have labels like “Middlebury Language Schools” now have title attributes specifying that they are “For Alumni” to avoid confusion with links labelled “Middlebury Language Schools” elsewhere on the page.
  • One instance of the <center> tag has been removed from the site.
  • The “Skip to Main Content” links are now correctly linked to the main content element on the page.
  • The headings for the “Quick Search” boxes, such as on the Offices & Services page are now being used as proper labels for the form element.
  • The wordmark logos for Middlebury and its affiliate programs are now background images and there is actual text in the header elements on each of the pages, making it easier for them to be read by assistive devices.

This is just the beginning of many accessibility improvements we’ll be making, and working with you to make as well. To learn more about this topic, here is a Lynda.com session on Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques and you can view the accessibility issues with the Middlebury site in SiteImprove.

Weekly Web Updates – June 8, 2015

New Features

The MIIS website has a new homepage, designed by staff in Middlebury’s office of Communications. This features a new global header and footer, which we’ve applied to all of the pages in the MIIS website, as well as the MIIS Directory, the MIIS instance of GO, and the MIIS mobile website / portal.

New Documentation

We’ve prepared a guide on creating Course and Section Listings in Drupal.

At the request of Jim Stuart, we’ve added staff profiles for ITS to the ITS Teams and Workgroups section of the site. Each person has permission to edit their profile and we’ve prepared documentation on editing profiles for those interested.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • We’ve fixed a problem with the Drupal Instagram content type that was preventing images from being displayed if certain sizes of those images weren’t available through Instagram. It will now display the last X images of any size larger than the width you specify.
  • The navigation element for the Study Abroad website has been modified to include a direct link to information about their advisors.
  • We’ve made some improvements to how resources are handled in the Course Hub so that saving resources & syllabi only synchronizes the resource that was saved rather than all resources for the course, speeding up the save processes.

Weekly Web Updates – June 1, 2015

New Features

  • WordPress: We’ve replaced the broken XML-Google-Maps and GeoMashup plugins with the more-supported OSM (Open Street Map) plugin. The OSM plugin allows you to display geo-tagged posts on a map as well as embed maps based on GPX or KML data-files. For users of the two removed plugins, we’ve already converted your sites to using OSM.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • The WordPress plugin Dropdown Menu Widget was fixed so that it uses the edit_theme_options permission, which is available to site Administrators, to determine who can use its settings interface, rather than the edit_themes permission, which made it only usable by Network Administrators.
  • The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences site was updated with a new header image and to use the new Middlebury identity system in its footer.
  • The Center for Social Entrepreneurship site was updated to use the new Middlebury identity system and to correct an alignment issue with the image gallery.

Weekly Web Updates – May 25, 2015

New Features

New Documentation

Our colleagues at MIIS have put together a really nice quick-start guide to editing their Drupal site, including some fun video tutorials. While some of this is specific to the MIIS site, much of it also applies to the Middlebury Drupal site. We’ll be “borrowing” some of this content to improve our documentation.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • The site for the MIIS Center for Social Impact Learning has been redesigned to fit in with the rest of the MIIS site and the header features a custom wordmark logo for the program.
  • The MIIS website now has the canonical name of the organization in the site header using JSON-LD microdata format to let search engines know which name to use when displaying links to the site on search results pages. This is something we’ll be rolling out to the Middlebury Drupal sites shortly as well.
  • News stories on the MIIS site use a new set of custom designed social media icons, which will also soon appear in the site footer. Additionally, moving your mouse over the email icon no longer automatically opens a pop-up, you have to manually click on the icon.
  • The Middlebury wordmark in MiddMedia‘s height and width have been adjusted to support the new identity graphic.
  • We’ve added support for embedding Salesforce Pardot forms from learn.middlebury.edu on the Drupal sites using the new [iframe URL] shortcode.