Customer Spotlight: Colorado State University-Pueblo

By Lauren Murray — Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 at 11:00am
Customer Spotlight: Colorado State University-Pueblo

 

Colorado State University-Pueblo recently completed a two-year project that included a content audit, migration, and redesign in December 2016. From October 24 to December 15, 2016, the team worked on migrating their content from SharePoint into Cascade CMS. We spoke with Adam Pocius, Instructional Technology and Web Development Manager, about how he structured the content audit and motivated his team during the migration process.

Tell us about your Cascade CMS training process.

Training users has always been a part of our web redesign strategy from the beginning of this project. The data structure, visual design, UX/UI, and initial content are all very important, but we were very adamant about understanding how our web editors would flourish using a new CMS with a full on redesign. Prior to any move we enlisted the help of our many current editors who had various skill levels in the prior CMS. We disseminated a checklist to prepare content in the current system for the migration and reinforced auditing content. We also disseminated analytics to identify the high traffic pages and content in the old site to help with the audit.

Click here to view a video we put together specifically for the audit click here.

On a specified date all the old web content went into a freeze and all web editors in the old system were disabled. We created a small team that had full web access to both the old and new CMS. We decided to perform the migration with a minimal team to help control the consistency, efficiency, and standards needed to populate the new system in the small timeframe allotted. Having a small team afforded us the ability to research, develop, and design customized training sessions for the future web editors.

A hybrid model was used to train the first team of users in the system. We all met to discuss the platform, overview the interface, and overview the standards. The initial meeting took a few hours and we ended with a few action items. We had the trainee build out a few different pages of the site based on various pages layouts we targeted. After a few days we reconvened and discussed the experiential experience and what was learned building out templates. That discussion led to the initial training document for all of our upcoming web editor training sessions. We determined there could be “Basic” and “Advanced” editors. Some could specialize in specific areas as well, such as profiles, HTML/CSS, events, news, etc. We are still building future web community events for editors to attend and learn about specific topics each month like accessibility, standards, photography, analytics, and more.

The initial training of the Web Development team took only a few hours of in-person discussion and another few hours of hands on Cascade CMS training. We helped to answer many of the questions by drafting a very specific “CSU-Pueblo Web Style, Standards, and Best Practices” document. This comprehensive guide helped answer many of the questions that came up with the system and the new templates. Training is something our editors must retake each year, and we have monthly training sessions for new editors and as a refresher. Training is always happening each month.

Could you describe how you used gamification to motivate your team during the migration process?

We are a bunch of video game techies here in Web Development! I have been a huge video game fan for years and my office is decorated exclusively with Minecraft! Now I am a father and my two sons are very much into video games. I do not have the time I once had to play, but I still follow the world of video gaming closely. One aspect of games that enthralls me is the “flow” produced when engaging in a game. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Hungarian psychologist that researched and discusses “flow” in his research. He isn’t specifically attached to video games per se, but game mechanics seem to surface this “flow” he has discussed quite well. An individual could be lost in a game for hours while everything around them disappears as they are laser focused and fully engaged in the game. The concept of harvesting those game mechanics that produce flow and instilling them into other activities has been a passion of mine for the last 5+ years.

Let’s face it, a manual migration of web content can be arduous, frustrating, and complex. I’ve taught various courses at the university and embraced gamification over the years in that space. When the web migration was drawing closer, I had the idea of making the entire process much more engaging and enjoyable. I needed to have an engaged team and still be able to meet our objectives and promises. Gamification seemed to be the best answer. What we did was take the original arcade game Contra from the 1980’s because of the nostalgia and 8-bit design and set it as our foundation. The game features two protagonists battling their way through levels with an endless amount of resistance from a variety of enemies and bosses. The game itself was very much a metaphor for the migration process we were about to embark except our enemies and bosses were the various pages and multimedia in our old CMS system.

CSU-Pueblo

We exported the original levels as graphics, and mashed them up into a game of our own using Photoshop. Our graphic designer helped create the gaming map over a few days. We printed out a 30-foot long map and hung it in our main workspace. We created our own pixel characters and various enemies in separated files and then printed and laminated the game pieces. We were set in regard to the game board, but how to play? We were able to produce a full list of every page of our site using tools in SiteImprove. I created a “master migration” sheet in Google Docs and created a variety of columns to track specific information on each page. One column in particular was integral to the gamification as it was used to report the status of a specific page. Based on the status, it updated a chart on another sheet so it would update in real time based on a formula. We now had a full functioning score board! I set up a laptop and displayed the scoreboard 24/7 on a digital flat panel. It was always on.

CSU-Pueblo

We have six double-screen monitors setup in an open work area environment. The “Web Contra” game board on one wall and a digital flat panel on the adjacent. We created “Field Book” that listed all the tracking codes, standards, and migration notes. Each day I would write the sub-site targeted for migration on an enemy (we left white space above the enemies head), and based on the Google Spreadsheet, everyone would get to work on migrating. They were able to move their character anywhere on the board within the current unlocked stage, and I would “throw” enemies at them sporadically throughout the day. They received “support” drops based on accomplishments (i.e. candy bags and drinks based off a survey I sent out to them before we began). The “Final Boss” represented our launch day. The payout was a dinner at the local pub fully covered by us.

CSU-Pueblo

The overall experience was great. We built in motivation through the competition of posting the scoreboard so that everyone was vying to complete their tasks. It was engaging to know that every page migrated propelled your character deeper into the map with the potential of a candy drop or a new enemy surprise. If I had more time, I would have worked more to add digital achievements into the process!

What feedback did you receive during the migration process?

We had a very quick turn around on the migration, and the feedback from the editors doing the migration was that it wasn’t technically a migration but a bit more loose because we were combining and editing content on the fly. We were glad to have pushed for a content audit early on in the process because it cut out some of the guesswork, but overall it was more a “transformation” of content. We are still working each day to maintain the momentum of the project.

The user perception was overall very positive. The data infrastructure was easier to understand and navigate. It was a bit difficult for some to adapt to the change because we did take them out of their comfort zone, but it still garnered very positive results. We were guided by the focus groups, surveys, and input all along the way, so we were communicating and managing expectations well before the launch.

If you had to do it again, what would you change?

I’ve been involved with migrations and this one went relatively smooth. I’m not sure I would change much aside from trying to communicate the importance of content audits from the get go. We had enough foresight to be proactive in our communications and goals that we are very pleased with the results.

What was the secret to your success?

The secret to our success was communication. We all have the talent, passion, and skills to achieve great things, but having a solid communication structure is very important. Communication in all forms from the day-to-day stand-up meetings to the lecture hall open sessions about the redesign were critical in getting everyone on board with the process. In many of the group meetings with various constituents we evoked synergies that would never be realized without communication.

Caffeine in the morning and beer at night also helps!

Click here to view CSU-Pueblo’s case study.

If you'd like to be featured in a Hannon Hill Customer Spotlight blog post or customer case study, please reach out to Lauren Murray at lauren.murray@hannonhill.com.

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