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.

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?

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Mobile Traffic Milestone

Graph of mobile traffic, showing a clear pattern of year over year growth, including one day when 20% of visitors were mobile.
Percentage of visitors each day using a mobile device over the last two years

Last Sunday, for the first time ever, more than 20% of visitors to the website were mobile. And I don’t think the general trend can be missed: we’re up 38% on mobile compared to last year. Just more proof that we can’t ignore mobile when thinking about the web.

Also interesting? I was surprised to find that Saturdays and Sundays are our biggest mobile days. Each of the small spikes on the graph (not the gigantic ones) is a weekend. Anyone have any ideas why?

Don’t Make Me Think!

We’ve reached the Information Architecture stage of our web-project planning, a.k.a. how are we going to organize the new site? The ideal experience for any web user is to simply find what they need when they need it, without having to think. The ideal site is completely intuitive.  Steve Jobs has been quoted as saying the ideal technology does not require a how-to manual.  The aesthetics are such that users can simply figure it out. Given the breadth of the Lane web site this may be out of reach, but it is certainly an ideal worth pursuing.

Ambient Findability

Taking ques from the de-facto experts on web usability and intuitive design (see Peter Morville’s Ambient Findability and Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think), we have begun a series of card-sorting activities with our stakeholders.

Card-sorting is exactly what it sounds like. A small group is provided a stack of 40 – 50 index cards with site names on them (counseling, welding, child care, library, course schedules, etc.) and ask them to organize them into 5 (or less) categories. Minimal direction is given – groups can add new cards – combine cards – organize as they see fit. Then we watch and listen to the discussion… see what they devise and listen to the logic behind it. They have a small window of time to get this done – 20 minutes or so – and then we have an open discussion about the results. A simple exercise that gets folks thinking about taxonomy and information architecture without having to know those terms – without having to read Ambient Findability or Don’t Make Me Think! Useful. Insightful. Simple.

So far, we’ve done card-sorting activities with current students, potential students (high schools), and lane employees. And we are now at the stage of aggregating and comparing the results. We aren’t there yet, but thought it might be worth while to share some of the process (and pics) of this activity.