30. July 2021

Renewed splendor: Website relaunch milestone reached Renewed splendor: Website relaunch milestone reached

New design: mobile first with clear user navigation: The website of Bonn’s University of Excellence got a facelift in late April, so users and web editors are enjoying a modern, new look and feel. An article from forsch 2021/01.

The new website
The new website © Uni Bonn
Download all images in original size The impression in connection with the service is free, while the image specified author is mentioned.

Revamped interface in two languages


At the virtual Q&A consultations for the website relaunch there is all kinds of coming and going, with a brief “Hi there” and then “hold on, let’s go into Room 1”, into which the people then disappear, for digital privacy for their meeting. Behind the door, questions are addressed about working with the new website system. “A lot of things work differently with this system than the previous one,” explains Lena Zimmer, who provides user consultations and has been involved in the relaunch of our outdated website ever since such efforts got underway. “With the new Plone 5 system, the settings are now located somewhere else, and errors can occur that prevent further webpage editing.” What’s more, the entire website is now bilingual, representing an important move to accommodate growing numbers of international students and researchers.


Training sessions and consultations for web editors

More than 500 university staff members have editor access to the system, many of whom received training and advice from Segment Editor Vera-Lenn Heijnen in consultations, who is supporting the project. Some found it easy to switch over to the new system while others required a bit more training, as she reports: “You have to have a lot of editing know-how, but also have to be able to understand and work well with people. And we received crucial support from University IT, it must be noted”. The University’s Vice Rector for Digitization and Information Management is Professor Maren Bennewitz, who talked about tremendous teamwork displayed in this project: “Nearly all University units manage their own website content, so the number of units not involved in the project is very few.” In the last few years since being designated a University of Excellence, the institution has gained tremendous prestige. “I am thus very pleased that we are now updating our website so as to properly communicate this development.”


Website changes for more than 300 units

Since the relaunch kicked off in 2018, the project has logged 9,000 change tickets. These in turn gave rise to some 35,000 individual work orders requiring discussion by the University project team and the programmers and the designer involved, and subsequent implementation. “It’s a mammoth undertaking basically,” commented Klaus Herkenrath, one of the three Relaunch Project Managers. “Web relaunches are of course something every organization has, but that doesn’t mean the project is uncomplicated or unchallenging.”


In this case, in addition to the main University website there are the sub-sites of some 300 other independent units involved in the relaunch.


The ‘mobile first’ approach

Project Manager Herkenrath continues: “The University of Bonn website now has a contemporary design, and we will be better able to keep it up-to-date with developments. “The new website is designed in its entirety to be mobile device-friendly, as most people visit the site via smartphone.” Plone 3 was previously used for the website, which had been online for over 11 years with some cosmetic adjustments, and is now being phased out.


The next steps

Project manager Martin Ragg of University IT talked about the work leading up to the “go-live” date for the main website: “The background system is set up and the main website is up and running.” Now the task is to get the data up for the various faculties and departments. The project’s third manager, Ulrich Marder, adds:

“The website will obviously be undergoing continuous optimization for editors and users until it’s time for another relaunch. Which we hope will not be necessary again for some time to come.”


Relaunch facts and figures

Teamwork: Over 500 people from all over the University have worked on the relaunch. The four Segment Editors for the respective project segments are: Vera-Lenn Heijnen, ‘University’, Daniel Epple, ‘Degree Programs’, Clara Kaminsky, ‘Research and Teaching’ and Sebastian Legge, ‘International’. They are joined by English-language editor Lena Zimmer, together representing the key players in the relaunch since the project kicked off in 2018. They are the ones who further developed the site navigation together with the project managers, designed, tested and optimized page templates for CMS editors, trained staff, produced a training video, streamlined and updated page content and held over 120 hours of consultations with staff members over a four -month period.


Page content totaling roughly 150,000 words had to be translated into English with the goal of having a fully bilingual website.

Crucial support: Over 116 hours of consultation meetings were held for any and all who had questions regarding the technology or content structuring.

Wird geladen