Web Services' top stories of 2019

From McGill's redesigned home page, to a suite of new resources for website owners and managers, to key WMS improvements, 2019 was the year we delivered on improvements that benefit McGill's overall web ecosystem.
  1. McGill's new homepage...2x

    McGill's redesigned home page launched in two stages in 2019 starting with a functional redesign that went live in March. This first round of updates was the result of a high degree of community engagement and developer collaboration.

    The second stage, launched in September, featured a rebranding of McGill's homepage and included functional refinements based on user testing and brand strategy. Find out more about our homepage project on the Web Evolution Program website.

  2. Search updates

    Over the past 12 years, McGill's search was powered by the Google Search Appliance. When GSA was discontinued by Google in 2018, we replaced it with a more modern and powerful search platform in McGill's WMS. This new platform offers a number of exciting enhancements which will be rolled out on WMS sites in 2020. Keep an eye on the Web Services website for related announcements.

  3. Web Services website launch

    Prior to 2019, McGill's web community was supported by two websites, the Web-101 site managed by Digital Communications and the WMS website managed by IT Services' Web Service Group. The launch of our new Web Services site, which is jointly managed by both these teams, ushers in a number of key improvements that include:

    • Consolidated access to all web-related documentation and resources
    • A single point of reference for web support requests
    • New resources such as McGill's digital standards, training courses and toolkit
  4. McGill's new digital standards

    Our digital standards present an overview of the criteria for creating and managing McGill websites and online services.

    Information about McGill's web standards and best practices were previously scattered across numerous websites and documents. Combining these standards into an authoritative resource has resulted in a number of improvements that include:

    • Easier access to a comprehensive set of criteria for creating and managing McGill websites and online services
    • A shared mechanism for our unified web team (comprised of Communications and External Relations' Digital Communications team and IT Services' Web Services Group) to evaluate websites and determine support requirements
  5. 2019 WMS features and updates

    In addition to the redesigned homepage and search updates, WMS features released this year included new metatag options, improvements to the CK Editor, infrastructure and security improvements, and the introduction of a greater set of characters including non-roman character sets. Read our article, Top 10 WSG highlights of 2019, to find out more.

  6. New Web Services content training courses

    We're happy to close off 2019 with the announcement of four new web training courses:

    • Writing for the web at McGill
    • McGill's digital standards
    • Designing digital experiences with the McGill brand
    • UX at McGill

    These new courses are off to a popular start - our inaugural January courses filled up within a few days! You can find out how to register for all our courses on our Training & events page.

One final item to note is that our Web Services community is growing! In the past, many of McGill's web services and resources were designed for users of our Web Management System (WMS). In contrast, most of the new Web Services resources mentioned above support a larger audience that uses a greater range of tools, WMS, Virtual Host, blogs.mcgill.ca and faculty-hosted websites to name a few. We're also putting more effort into reaching out to these additional groups to include them in our community presentations and meetups.

For a video recap of our 2019 top stories, view our year-end presentation.

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