IET rebuilds Web site to put services first

If you haven't visited the main campus tech Web site lately, take a look. It has just been overhauled, and the people behind it are eager to hear what you think about the change.

The reborn site is iet.ucdavis.edu, the online home of Information and Educational Technology. As of Thursday night the site offers an improved display that's consistent, easier to use, and searchable across all of IET's services.

"We're trying to organize it the way our customers want to find things, not around how IET is organized," said IET Vice Provost Pete Siegel.

The specific changes include:
  • an improved navigation bar across the top

  • a "How do I ...?" feature that speeds users to answers for common questions

  • better architecture that employs newer standards (such as XHTML) to prepare for use with hand-held devices and other newer technologies

  • An RSS feed to help distribute campus tech news and information more easily

  • better access for users with disabilities

  • a prominent spot for TechNews, IET's online source of campus tech news and information

  • a look that resembles the main UC Davis site, to foster a common campus identity

  • and a centerpiece with photos that link to stories and announcements about campus tech.

Making IET services easier to find was the overhaul's top priority, said Jan Dickens, director of IET-Classroom Technology Services (CTS) and a leader of the revision project. Those services range from phones and computer security to podcasts and wireless online access.

"The main goal was to go from a department-based site to a service-based site," she said. That way, users can find the services they need without first having to figure out which unit of IET provides them.

As a large department spread across campus, IET is often known more for its parts than its w hole. Anyone interested in campus podcasting, for instance, has been expected to know that they should go to the CTS site for information.

Now people can simply go to iet.ucdavis.edu, where podcasting is listed in a "quick links" box along with "email," "course tools," "computer accounts," "classroom support" and half a dozen other services. Related resources have been made easier to identify and find.

The centerpiece stories will change as the year progresses. One story scheduled for posting in early November includes a stunningly detailed photo of an infinitesimal bug that IET-Mediaworks photographer Sam Woo found on an old slide in his desk. Woo used a device at Mediaworks called Better Light, a cross between a digital scanner and a camera, to capture an image that stays sharp even when enlarged to the size of a human head.

Clicking on Woo's photo, once it's posted next month, will take you to the story.

IET is serious about wanting comments, good or critical, from the campus community. Please send them to ietweb@ucdavis.edu.