Switch to the NDSU 2018 template

The IT Division does not currently have training or support resources available to help you learn to use this template or its features. We recommend only departments that have authors/publishers comfortable with using unfamiliar technology without training or help desk support migrate to the NDSU 2018 template at this time.

At a very high level, the process of migrating to the NDSU 2018 template involves changing the template (what defines the visual appearance of the content records that make up a page) to the "NDSU 2018" template and then making content changes desired to make use of the new template features as desired.

First, let's make sure we have a mutual understanding about a few key concepts.

Department web page here means a top-level directory and everything below. For example, www.ndsu.edu/its and all subdirectories or www.ndsu.edu/eci and all subdirectories. Sometimes the top-level directory isn't actually a university department, but rather a "parent unit" or even a program within a department, but we're still talking about a top-level directory and everything below even in that case. We say "department" because often the top-level directories are divided in that fashion.

Migration occurs for an entire department web page. Even if a university department is arranged as a sub-directory of a parent unit in the web hierarchy, such as Student Technology Services ( www.ndsu.edu/its/sts/ ), either all of www.ndsu.edu/its would need to change to the new template or none of /its would change. If a top-level directory contains web content for multiple university departments, then all must update together; conversely, if a directory is only a partial university department, then the migration only impacts that partial department www.ndsu.edu/partialdept and below.

Preparation to switch

If you want to take a peek to see what the department pages will look like in the new template in order to pre-plan your work, we can apply the template changes temporarily (in the draft workspace) so you can click around and get an idea of what decisions you can make before beginning the migration in earnest. In this case, a workspace manager can submit a request to the IT Help Desk to switch to the NDSU 2018 template (remember the page URL) and later let us know when ready to cancel the template preview. Then re-initiate another migration request further down the road when you're ready to migrate in earnest.

Things to think about as you plan:

  1. If the page navigation is long, there may be page re-organization required to keep a horizontally-oriented navigation bar from overflowing to multiple lines. Think about how you can organize the navigation to use visitor-friendly categories that will be short enough to fit on one line but understandable enough that visitors will be able to find what they seek. Things to keep in mind:

    The top-level page (that contains drop-down items) links to a page. It is not just a "container" that reveals links when hovered/focused/activated. This means you still need to have usable content on that top-level page (else a blank page will display when visitors click/tap it). Furthermore, visitors might decide instead to navigate directly to a page in the dropdown menu, so you need to construct the pages in the dropdown menu to contain necessary information to make sense when directly accessed (either via the dropdown menu or web search).

    The navigation bar will wrap on smaller screens.

    If you re-organize, department sub-page URLs will change.

    Hint: You can begin re-organizing your pages before changing templates. It's helpful to have only relevant and updated, well-organized, content before even beginning the template migration.

  2. The new template does not include accordions. This is intentional, as accordions suffer from poor accessibility and usability. A "table of contents" is the generally-advised solution on the web--you can automate a TOC using a section index. You can also use grids to arrange the section index to the side, but properly ordered at the top on small screens.

  3. New content types are available, including grids (currently 2, 3, and 4 columns), formatted code, Hero Banner, Social Media page links, and Icon Buttons as of this writing. You might consider how thoughtful application of these contents can improve your pages.

Ready to switch to the NDSU 2018 template?

When you switch, you should be ready to dedicate effort to migrate to the new template. If you opt for template changes only in the draft workspace, authors won't be able to preview updates to "old" pages. Backend previews will only reflect the NDSU 2018 template in this scenario. You should aim to minimize the time duration of the "migration." If you opt for template applied on the live page, you should have authors ready to review the page and make any immediate changes desired.

In practice, the migration steps look approximately like the following:

  1. A workspace manager submits a template change request.

    If on the live page is chosen, the template will be switched and visitors will see the page using the new template as soon as it is switched. This is the "easiest" way to migrate but requires accepting content on the live page s may potentially not display perfect until you make some tweaks.

    If in the draft workspace is chosen, the template will be switched in the workspace only (as a draft version) and a page manager must submit another request to the IT Help Desk when the page is ready to be published using the new template.

  2. Publish (or discard) any pending draft changes in the workspace while you're waiting for the template change to be applied, particularly if opting for template changes only in the draft workspace. This step isn't required, but can help you focus on what content changes you're making solely as a consequence of changing templates once it comes time to publish the template.

  3. A CMS administrator will change the template to NDSU 2018 and set a page layout that is useful for migration: it displays page navigation arranged on the left side, much like the "old" template, and displays any content records in the BORDER column in line after the MAIN column contents so that visitors can still reach that content and so that you can move the content to the MAIN column if desired. You will be provided with a "report" listing pages with any BORDER contents so you can easily find such pages.

  4. If you opted for template changes only in the draft workspace, you might choose to refrain from publishing contents as you update them in the new template. In particular, contents using new-to-NDSU 2018 template features should not be published "early." Instead, they ought to be published at about the same time as the template change is published to avoid any unusual appearances on the live page seen by visitors while you're still working on things.

    In contrast, template change on the live page authors should publish as usual throughout.

  5. If there are BORDER content elements that should display with a column-like layout, you can use the Grid Container content elements to re-arrange using that visual layout for large screens. Keep in mind that the contents are still presented linearly on small screens and accessibility tools (just as it was on the "old" template). If the page doesn't make sense when linearized this way, you should re-organize contents so that it will make sense.

  6. If the page navigation is long, reorganize pages to keep a horizontally-oriented navigation bar from overflowing to multiple lines. You can switch the template layout to use a horizontal navigation option when ready.

  7. Content records containing tables may warrant updates. Note the available table styles.

  8. If you're working with template change only in the draft workspace, once things look "good enough" to publish with the new template, submit a request for publish via the IT Help Desk. Be sure to indicate whether the entire workspace, including all draft pages/contents, should be published or if only the template should be published (in the latter case, a workspace publisher must publish any page/content records intended for publication). We're not able to field requests with itemized publish/do-not-publish lists.

    If template was applied on the live page, the template is already published and you should be publishing the contents as usual as you make changes. There's no need to contact the Help Desk.

  9. Maintain the site (such as making further improvements and additions to the pages) as you did under the "old" NDSU 2011 template—save and publish as usual.
More clarification of "on the live page" versus "in the draft workspace"

The features of the template and any changes you might want to make after the switch will be the same in both cases; however, when the template is applied on the live page, visitors will see the new template immediately. You'll be able to make changes in the workspace and preview them exactly as they will appear to visitors after the changes are published.

When the template changes in the draft workspace, visitors will continue to see the old template until a CMS administrator publishes the template change. This means you'll be able to draft changes in the workspace and preview in the NDSU 2018 template how the pages/contents will appear after publish of both the contents and the template. If a publisher publishes content or page records, those published changes will continue to display using the NDSU 2011 ("old") template until an administrator publishes the draft template record. This scenario has the advantage of allowing authors/publishers to look at pages using the NDSU 2018 template prior to making the switch on the live pages, but the disadvantage of creating a preview disconnect between what you see in the workspace and what the visitor sees on the website during the "migration" process. You're encouraged to make this "migration" as quickly as possible to minimize the "need" or desire to publish contents to the live pages while still using the "old" template, since you won't be able to preview using that template.

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