Call to Actions

This weekend, while rolling out some minor module updates, we also added a way to convert a link from this:

Picture of a link on the page

to this:

Picture of an Orange Call to Action Button

If you’re not a fan of orange, you can also use the blue version:

Picture of a Blue Call to Action Button

These big, hard to miss buttons are the page’s Call To Action (CTA). When you’re working on a page, you should be thinking about what the CTA for each of your pages is. What do you want the visitor to do on that page? Is your page purely informational (example: financial aid disbursement schedule)? Or are you trying to get them to take some sort of action (example: register for the Convening the State event)? If your page falls into the latter, you may want to consider the above CTA buttons.

To use them, you’ll need to add two classes to your link. For orange, you’d add cta and cta-orange, for blue you’d add cta and cta-blue. Don’t know what that means? Don’t worry about it! Just give Lori a call and she’ll walk you through it. Super easy.

One more thing: your page should only have one CTA. If there’s absolutely, positively, no way at all in the world you can have just one CTA, you can maybe add a second. If you have a bunch of CTA’s, you’re not helping people find what they need, you’re splitting their attention and making it unclear what they should do. And wherever possible, we should be trying to make it clear what we want people do on our pages – remember, people skim more than they read.

IE9 & 10 Support Discontinued

On January 12th, 2016, Microsoft will be discontinuing support for all versions of Internet Explorer earlier than version 11. You can read the announcement from Microsoft, as well as why and how to upgrade, here. If you run Windows at home, it’s very important that you keep your computer updated in order to help keep it safe.

Similar to when we stopped supporting Internet Explorer 8, if you choose to continue using an outdated version of Internet Explorer, it does not mean the Lane website (or most of the rest of the Internet) will suddenly stop working for you. It just means that out of the hundreds of different browser, operating system, and screen resolution combinations that we try to test, we’re no longer going to test with IE8, IE9, or IE10 – we’ll be doing our Internet Explorer testing strictly with IE 11. Since users of the all of the outdated versions of Internet Explorer combined represent less than 4% of our web traffic, most folks won’t even notice we’re doing anything different.

If you use Internet Explorer at work, you may not be able to upgrade due to administrative policy or because you use an application that requires an older version of Internet Explorer. In that case, consider using multiple browsers, where you use Internet Explorer strictly where you have to, and Firefox or Chrome everywhere else, in order to limit the number of sites Internet Explorer is exposed to.

Drupal does CAS

For the last two years, the IT department has been working on a project to improve identity, communications, and passwords across campus. We’re finally ready to start rolling pieces of that out. And you, lucky Drupalers, are getting to test one of the very first pieces.

Starting on October 9th, when you log into Drupal, you’ll be automatically taken to the CAS login page. What’s CAS? CAS provides a Central Authentication Service, which means that when you log into it, you’re actually logging into all the services that CAS is aware of. And when you log out, you’re logging out of all the services that CAS is aware of.

In the future, this is going to let us do some pretty neat things. For example, that means after you log into Drupal, when you go to myLane and press login, you’ll just automagically be logged in – without having to enter your L Number and password all over again. But for now, it’s just going to look like a different login page. So what’s it look like?

Screenshot of the CAS login screen

No, really, that’s it. When you go to the Drupal login page, it’ll automatically go to the CAS login page. After you log in, you’ll go back to Drupal.

It’s super important that you remember to log out when you’re all done. Since logging into CAS logs you into all services, if you forget to log out that means the next person that comes up to that computer could not only use Drupal as you, but also use any other CAS enabled service (and eventually, that’ll mean almost everything at Lane!). So please, hit the log out button when you’re done!

New Map and Tour

Today, we’re officially launching our new Campus Map! We’ve been quietly working on this project all summer, and we’re ready to show it off in all its glory.There’s a lot of awesome features on this map that we’d like to walk you through, but before we do that, Go check it out!

Here’s some pictures that show how detailed this map is:

West Entrance Garden Labyrinth

West Entrance Garden Labyrinth

CFE Buildings and Learning Garden

CFE Buildings and Learning Garden

Building 5 Mural and Art

Building 5 Mural and Art

Courtyard Between Center and Building 11

And so many awesome things:

  • The entire map is completely mobile friendly
  • Check out the tours tab on the left hand side, where you can take a virtual tour of campus
  • The search feature on the left is super helpful for finding things on campus – just search for it, and if it’s one of the layers the map can help you find it
  • Panoramic Photos! Turn on the Panoramic Photos layer and then click one of the 360 icons.
  • Speaking of layers, there’s only a few that are public right now, but we’re gradually adding other departments to the map to add layers that are interest specific. For example, we’ll have a layer about all the art on campus, a layer about our athletics facilities, and a layer about campus food options.

This project was a partnership between the Webteam, Marketing and Public Relations, Outreach and Recruitment, and CampusBird.

Have some feedback about the map?

Map Feedback

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Encrypt all the things!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been battling a problem where the web server would sometimes forget its own name. Some days it would want to go by www.lanecc.edu, other days it would want to go by 163.41.113.43 (our public IP address), and other days it would use our internal server name. We gave it a stern talking to, but it refused to cooperate.

The solution is to specify Drupal’s base_url variable. Normally, Drupal tries to identify what server name to use and it does a pretty good job. But clearly our server isn’t so great at that anymore. Specifying the base_url forces Drupal to use what we tell it.

But the base_url needs to be a full URL, complete with protocol. So it needs to be “http://www.lanecc.edu” or “https://www.lanecc.edu” – we’re not allowed to just say “www.lanecc.edu”. Why does that matter? Because even though the difference is just one letter – an “s” – that turns out to be one of the most important letters on the Internet.

HTTP is the protocol that defines how a lot of content on the internet moves around. It’s part of how this page got to you. But it’s a completely unencrypted format. When you’re browsing the web in HTTP, you’re sending everything in clear text – anyone that can listen in (for example, on an unencrypted WiFi connection) can read whatever you’re sending. But if we add the “s”, and browse via HTTPS, then everything we do is encrypted, and no one can listen in*.

But there’s some gotchas with HTTPS pages. For instance, most webpages actually consist of multiple requests – the Lane homepage has 34. If even one of those requests is made over HTTP instead of HTTPS, then we have a “mixed mode content error”, and the browser hides that content.

And that’s kept us from specifying our base_url so far. If we set it to “http://www.lanecc.edu”, then on pages that are HTTPS, like webforms, then all the styles and javascript will break, since those would be sent over HTTP. And if we went the other way, and set the base_url to “https://www.lanecc.edu”, then our caching infrastructure, which is built assuming most connections are over HTTP, would break, significantly slowing down the site. So we’ve been stuck running a mixed-mode site – most people use HTTP, but authenticated people and webform users use HTTPS.

There’s a number of reasons that isn’t ideal, which are well outside the scope of this already too long blog post. And the wider Internet is moving forward with using HTTPS only everywhere. So yesterday, we deployed new caching infrastructure which will allow us to go with using HTTPS only. Going forward, all connections with www.lanecc.edu will beĀ  encrypted.

This should be a almost completely transparent transition, but if you notice any problems, email us at webmaster@lanecc.edu and let us know!

* strictly speaking, this isn’t true, and there’s a a whole category of attacks that can still work on HTTPS. But there’s a fix for that too, and we’re working on rolling that out too some time in the future.

 

 

New Search Engine

A slightly early holiday gift from the web team: new search!

Just before break, we finished our migration away from our Google Mini to Google’s hosted Site Search. We hope you’ll find it more reliable, more accurate, and easier to use on your phone. Try it out at lanecc.edu/search, or using the megamenu at the top of most Lane web pages.

Happy Holidays!

Media Server SFTP & FTP support ending the first week of January, 2015

We will be turning SFTP access to media.lanecc.edu files off the first week of January, 2015. After the first week of January, 2015, all media.lanecc.edu files must be managed through Filehost.

The only change to media.lanecc.edu files is that you will add, delete, and update them through Filehost instead of through a ftp client. Everything else stays the same.

To manage your media.lanecc.edu files through Filehost, just navigate into your ‘mediaserver’ folder. That folder is the root of your media.lanecc.edu/users/username account. So a mediaserver/foo.txt file can be viewed at media.lanecc.edu/users/username/foo.txt.

This also applies to media.lanecc.edu/courses/acctname and media.lanecc.edu/acctname accounts. The username/password for these accounts should be the same as when you used to use SFTP.

Remember that there are several ways to manage files. See http://doc.owncloud.org/server/7.0/user_manual/#file-access-and-management

The web interface at https://filehost.lanecc.edu is great for single files or deleting a folder. WebDAV and the sync client are best when dealing with many files.

For more information, see: https://blogs.lanecc.edu/webteam/2014/05/19/announcing-filehost-lanes-very-own-internal-cloud-storage

As with the Media Server, support is provided by the ATC. If you need help, just ask. http://www.lanecc.edu/atc

Evaluating the new search engine

New Search Feedback

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Some Announcements

Over the last few weeks, we’ve added some features to Drupal that may interest you.

First, we’ve added some new buttons to the WYSIWYG editor:

  1. The “K” button works much the same way as the Flickr button, and allows you to embed Kaltura Videos (hosted on http://video.lanecc.edu). For more information, talk to Dean Middleton
  2. The map button allows you to embed the new style Google Maps maps. Google changed both the Google Maps interface and the embed codes recently. If you see a white box on the left hand side of Google Maps, you’re using the old version, and should continue to just paste the map link into the WYSIWYG on its own line, like always. But if Google Maps takes up the entire screen, you need to copy the embed code and paste it using the new Google Maps button in the toolbar.

Second, we’ve had some problems with revision messages. Here’s a real life sample of some of the message we’ve seen the last few weeks:

  • z
  • .
  • Revised page
  • Update1
  • page update
  • routine
  • same
  • got it

Clearly, these are incredibly unhelpful. Log messages should be concise and descriptive. Here’s some great ones:

  • Revised office hours and added fall term hours
  • Update reference to Retail AAS
  • added IT maintenance window event spud
  • updated links to event flyers
  • added link to BP040

When we’re trying to figure out when something changed, it’s a lot easier if we can skim through the revision log. And it helps you – that way you can see who else changed your pages, and what they did.

Due to the number of really poor revision log messages, we’ve been forced to add some checks within Drupal for obviously bad ones. If your message doesn’t meet the terribly low bar we’ve established, your node will not save, and you’ll be asked to enter a better message.

Remember, if you find yourself constantly entering messages like “Trying again” or “One more time”, you should try using the Preview button to make sure what you’re adding is what you want. That way you’re not creating 3 or 4 revisions for one small change.

There’s also a couple of people who include their initials with the log message. Although we used to really like having that information when we were using Contribute, we track your login when you make changes now, so there’s no need to also have your initials. Save a few keystrokes!

Finally, we’ve also open sourced a piece of our Drupal Migration. if you visit our GitHub page, you can find the source of our Migration Tracker, which kept track of the old and new URLs, and made it possible for us to migrate over several months, rather than needing to do it overnight.