UNIVERSITY WEB TEMPLATES – A Message From President Michael Ortiz

On Friday, March 3, the IT Governance Executive Committee unanimously approved a recommendation from the Web Guidance Subcommittee on a timeline and implementation of Web templates to support the university community.  We all know what a critical role the Web plays on our campus as a communication and learning tool, but I frequently hear about the daily challenges associated with maintaining Web sites and keeping them current.

The Web templates have been designed to support the university on a number of levels, including:

  • Compliance with Executive Order 926 (Web accessibility)  
  • Consistent university identity  
  • Consistent user experience among students, faculty, staff and guests  
  • Custom look to support different university organizations 
  • Quick and simple editing of content  

Before making this recommendation, a team of university web professionals collaborated and beta-tested these models with several campus organizations, including the College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences, Biological Sciences and the division of University Advancement. As you can see, they maintain a connection with Cal Poly Pomona while also giving each organization a customized identity.

EO 926 mandates compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments and other applicable federal laws. But on our campus,this is more than a mandate. It is absolutely the right thing to do to support those Web users with disabilities. To do this effectively, it requires that we provide a “plug and play” model that does not require remediation. I&IT Web Development will serve as the point organization for each transition to the template, but they will be unable to edit old or non-compliant pages. There are in excess of 550,000 Web pages on our servers so the best model is to provide sites that work. 

The application and installation timeline is as follows:

  • Colleges and Divisions — Beginning March 27, 2006  
  • Departments and Programs — Beginning June 19, 2006  
  • Instructionally-based pages — Beginning September 2006  

Web pages designed using the templates can be modified with Macromedia Contribute, a program that makes editing the contents of a Web page almost as easy as using a word processor. I&IT Web Development is currently working on an online Web page creation system that will enable faculty and staff to create Web pages through a simple interface, and immediately begin adding content with Contribute. They expect to be ready to support instructionally-based faculty pages by September and will provide details on how to acquire Contribute. Should university constituents elect not to use the templates, responsibility for compliance will rest with the Web site administrator.  

There will be additional messages as new timelines approach.  For now, college and division leaders should facilitate a transition plan with Curtis Clark at Thank you for all of your work in enhancing this important university resource.

Mike Ortiz