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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Responsive Tables

Before I get started, I should warn you, I’m putting my geek cap on for this one.

If you’ll recall, the new Lane web design is responsive (if you don’t remember what that means, check out the original post). Unfortunately, there are two parts of our website that dislike being responsive: images and tables.

The problem with images has to do with size. If you’re on a cell phone, you have very limited screen space. So you don’t want to download big huge images, only to have your cell phone shrink them down. That wastes both bandwidth and processing time on your phone. In other words, it’s a slow page. But despite that problem, at least the page still works and looks right.

Tables are a different story. Here’s an example of a non-responsive table:

Program Entry/Application Application  Deadline Prerequisites Schedule/Location Contact Person
Bridge to C.N.A. Application tk Bridge Prerequisites TBA / LCC Juanita Kirkham
C.N.A. I  Application tk C.N.A. I Prerequisites TBA Juanita Kirkham
Healthcare Professions Orientation Call (541) 463-5223
to reserve your space
Open until filled TBA /LCC WorkSource Lane at LCC Staff
Fundamentals of Microsoft Word 2010 for the Workplace Call (541) 463-5223 to be placed on waiting list Open until filled Typing Speed: 15 words per min. Ongoing two 5 week sessions a term/LCC WorkSource Lane at LCC Staff
Fundamentals of Microsoft Excel 2010 for the Workplace Call (541) 463-5223 to be placed on waiting list Open until filled  Typing Speed: 15 words per min. Ongoing two 5 week sessions a term/LCC WorkSource Lane at LCC Staff
Basic Computer for the Workplace Call (541) 463-5223
to reserve your space
Open until filled  – Ongoing-3 weeks/LCC WorkSource Lane at LCC Staff

Look ok? Try making your screen narrower or viewing this post on a cell phone. Your web browser recognizes that this is tabular data, and that it doesn’t make much sense if you can’t see the entire row. But your web browser also runs into a hard limit – the width of your screen. As your screen shrinks, the web browser will continue trying to reflow the text – meaning re-lay it out – in the table. But eventually, either the table needs fewer columns or the browser needs to break words apart to get things to fit. Neither answer works. So it just draws some of the table off the right edge.

This can be real problem on a mobile phone. In a best case, it’s just kind of ugly, and you can scroll the page with your finger to see off the right edge. In the worst case, the phone won’t let you scroll (or you’re on an older device where you can’t scroll), and you can’t see the right side of the table at all.

There’s been a series of excellent write ups on different ways to approach this problem, so I won’t rehash them all here. We considered two – flip scroll and “no-more-tables“.

First, we tried Flip Scroll. It’s an almost ideal method – it preserves the visual layout of the table, without adding much additional content. But we found that it didn’t render correctly in earlier (1.x and 2.x) Android devices, which represent the majority of our Android users. There were also some concerns with accessibility, since it makes it harder to tell how rows flow together. So we moved on to “No-More-Tables”. This method does change the visual appearance on mobile, but it was supported on the dozen devices I tested.

To see these tables in action, take a look at any page on the Lane webpage that has a large table on it, such as the the Workforce Development Short Term Trainings page. Because we’re rendering tables responsively on the client side, nothing needs to change for our content editors – they just keep on making tables like normal. The only exception to this rule is if there’s a table where the data series are in rows rather than columns. If that sounds like a problem you might have, see the table documentation on the internal Drupal Help Site.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Drupal and/or responsive tables, let me know in the comments, and I can publicize the mini modules we made to try each of these techniques.

EDIT (7/31/12) – One of these modules is available on Github

Responsive Design

Usually I’m all technical, but let’s take a break and just look at some pictures. Here’s one:

Graph of Mobile Visits to Lane's WebpageThere’s two lines in that graph, both of which represent mobile visits to Lane’s Website. Both lines are for the time period December 7th to February 7th, but orange is last year while blue is this year. For those keeping score at home, that’s a 102% increase in traffic. Put another way, last year 1 in every 33 visits was on a cell phone, while this year it’s 1 in every 15. This is a trend we see accelerating.

So we’ve decided to adopt a Mobile First Website strategy. Our new website will be built first and foremost for mobile devices – but it’ll turn on extra things for fancier devices like normal computers and tablets.

There’s an important distinction here. Unlike some websites, which maintain two versions of their site (look for any website with a url like, we’re only maintaining one site. This makes things a lot easier for us, but it also means that you always know you’re getting the exact same information, regardless of if you’re on a cell, a tablet, or a regular computer. It might just look different.

We’re implementing our Mobile First strategy using a technique called Responsive Design. Using this technique, we first check to see the size your screen using something called a Media Query. If your device doesn’t respond, or can’t respond, we assume that you’re on a mobile phone. This is the Mobile First approach – we first assume you’re on mobile. If your device does respond, we tell it to display things optimized for that device width.

Sorry –  I got technical again. Here’s a picture of what it looks like:

Lane's website appearance at 4 sizesThere’s actually 4 different images there. Which one you get depends on the size screen that you have. If you want to see it in action, get on the computer with the biggest monitor you can find and try resizing your browser window while viewing our contact page.