Soon after the launch of the new Middlebury web site, the LIS website team conducted usability testing on the LIS parts of the site (see report 1, report 2). Many improvements have been made based on the feedback received during testing. Since part of the Team’s charge for this year included following-up on these recommendations, we thought it best to share some of the highlights. These changes were made with the help of many content managers and website editors; we thank you for your contributions!: Continue reading
Tag Archives: improvements
Yesterday, we updated WordPress to v3.1. Most noticeable change in this update is the introduction of a new “admin” bar that appears after you log in. This admin bar includes quick links to all sites in which you are a registered user. Site authors will also see links to add new posts and editors will have quick links to comments. The other notable new feature is a “link browser” that allows you to search and quickly link to other posts/pages on your site.
Most importantly, this release includes over 800 bug fixes by over 180 developers from around the world. It has been downloaded over 1 million times in the last week.
Let us know if you have any questions about this update or experience any problems.
Campus Network Infrastructure Upgrade
As mentioned in a previous blog post, LIS is improving and expanding the campus network. Step one was to increase the size of our connection to the Internet, which we have done. Continue reading
Summary for those who aren’t interested in the details:
- The site should load faster
- Menu reordering is easier
- You can now copy and paste directly from Microsoft Word
Website Improvements #7: HTML5 Video
Videos on our website, like the new chapter in the Aunt Des story that was put up yesterday, are now available on more devices. We’re using the new <video> and <audio> tags that are part of HTML5, to enable site visitors to watch videos from MiddMedia (our local, streaming media server gives all Middlebury users space to host videos of any quality and length) and YouTube without needing to have the Adobe Flash plugin installed.
This feature has been rolled out for MiddMedia videos on Drupal and WordPress and YouTube videos on Drupal.
Don’t worry if you’re not using one of these browsers or devices. You’ll see the same Flash video player that was there yesterday.
You will now see your browser’s built-in HTML5 video player for MiddMedia videos if you are using one of these browsers or devices:
- an iPad or iPhone
The HTML5 audio player for MiddMedia videos appears if you are using one of these browsers or devices:
- an iPad or iPhone
To see a list of the supported browsers for video in YouTube, visit their HTML5 Video Player site. You can sign up there to opt-in to their HTML5 video player trial, if you like. Note: the site lists several browsers currently in their “beta” development phase. We recommend that you do not install these browsers as features of our site may not yet work in them.
Some restrictions may apply
The technology to support these features is very new and constantly changing. We’ll keep rolling out support to new browsers and devices as it becomes available and the experience is at least as good as what you get from the Flash player. For instance, Chrome currently supports HTML5 video, but we decided not to enable it for that browser because the fullscreen button doesn’t work. Firefox also supports HTML5 video, but in a different video format that we don’t currently produce for videos uploaded to MiddMedia (WebM or OGG).
Lastly, you might notice that some of the MiddMedia videos on our site cannot be played on devices like your iPad or iPhone. The method used to encode these videos didn’t produce a video in a format that these devices recognize. However, the majority of MiddMedia videos do work and we wanted to give you the opportunity to watch some of them, rather than none of them.
Did the network just get faster?
Generally LIS only hears about it when our systems aren’t responding quickly enough or aren’t working at all. We almost never get a call saying, “Gee, the servers have been up for a very long time without crashing!” or “My gosh, our network is extremely reliable and response time has been really fast lately!” Nevertheless, we continue to work very hard to keep everything running and at top speed. We regularly make improvements behind the scenes to benefit the whole community. One recent such improvement was a doubling of the size of our primary Internet connection. Continue reading
Website Improvements #6: Webform
For the sixth in this weekly series of posts we started in March, I’m going to talk about our recent upgrade of the Webform module and the addition of some new modules to help you manage your forms. Here are the new things you can do with Webforms:
- Custom email templates
- Allow form submitters to save a draft
- Decide what information to download from your form results
- Set up multi-page branched forms
- Add a free-form “Other…” option to a select list
- Add custom form validation, such as “Choose up to two of these options”
The interface to interact with the Webform has also been simplified by moving most form settings into their own tabs in the Edit Console, especially the addition of the E-mails tab that gives you a quick look at who receives E-mails when the form is submitted. The interface for adding options to select list components is also easier to use with an interface to quickly add and remove options. Lastly, if you have a sidebar on the page, it is now hidden when you’re trying to edit the form components so that you can view the full form.