Our primary work revolves around the UIS Website: determining the structure, creating and maintaining websites, creating sophisticated technical web page features, and serving as the liaison to the campus in all web-related matters.
This page highlights the many projects we are involved in and the technologies we use to deliver these projects. To see some our latest projects, visit the What’s New page.
Web Technologies We Use
- PHP 5
- SQL Server
Content Management System
- Twitter Bootstrap
- Font Awesome
- Google Analytics
- XML Data from other APIs
- Git – Source Code Management
- Bitbucket – Git project management
- Composer – PHP dependency manager
- Bower – web package manager
- Sublime Text – editor for code and markup
- Google Tag Manager
- Google Analytics
1) On the Web
We oversee the primary UIS website, including the campus homepage and the top-level pages of the website, and we reside within the Chancellor’s Division.
We are the primary developer of all official UIS websites using the WordPress Content Management System. We design, program, and develop web accessible, standards-compliant websites following the UIS Campus Web Policy.
We have developed three official WordPress Themes (Homepage, Department/Unit, and Top Level/Recruitment) that are used by the university. We oversee 170+ department and unit websites.
We develop, create and implement interactive web features that periodically take the place of the university’s weekly featured photos on the UIS homepage.
We also help create picture stories for the university. For example, when students start at UIS, they may not know what those next four years will be like. By graduation day, they have advice to give, stories to tell, and memories to share.
The Office of Web Services is passionate about accessibility.
- For the web, not only does law require it, it is the right thing to do. We offer accessibility workshops and provide guidance on how to make website content accessible to all users.
- As a public higher ed institution in Illinois, each year we provide a report detailing the accessibility of official UIS websites that use our theme.
For a student or visitor who is blind or has low vision, navigation can be challenging. Being differently-abled, one faces the additional challenges of learning to navigate our campus without visual cues that are standard for others.
- With support from the Division of Student Affairs, Web Services led the effort to create the first Braille map of the UIS campus.
- The Office of Web Services has put together a layered map that displays accessible UIS locations such as accessible parking and curb cuts, as well as other important locations on campus.
We collaborate with Campus Relations to develop, create and implement Cinemagraphs that take the place of the university’s weekly featured photos on the UIS homepage. Cinemagraphs are still photographs that contain minor movements. They exist in a space between a photograph and video that brings life to an image.
4) Web Analytics
We have code on all of our official UIS WordPress websites, and can look at some amazing insights about how visitors find and use our websites. We analyze these insights and improve our websites based on these statistics. We have programmed tools for campus website Editors to view statistics for their department/unit websites.
5) UIS Mobile App
We have designed and developed the UIS Mobile app with industry standard technologies to enhance the mobile experience of our students, faculty, staff, and the general public. We research, plan, develop, and deliver the UIS mobile app, as well as redesign, rewrite, and rebuild the app based on continued research.
6) Training and Support
We create many How-To documents and handouts to help campus website Editors learn techniques for working with images, Webtools Toolbox tools, social media, and more.
We offer workshops, Brown Bags, Web Help sessions and other opportunities for you to learn more and share knowledge with each other.
We offer workshops, documentation, and support for the WebTools Toolbox. The WebTools Toolbox was created by the University of Illinois main campus Web Services Unit, and offers a variety of tools to help with online and electronic communications.
7) Artificial Intelligence in Education
Alexa Skills: UIS
Built by the UIS Office of Web Services, this skill (beta) connects to a UIS knowledge base that contains frequently asked questions and facts.
To activate the skill, say, “Alexa, enable UIS” to your Amazon Alexa device.
To use the skill, the following are a few examples:
- “Alexa, ask UIS about today’s menu.”
- “Alexa, ask UIS for a quick fact.”
- “Alexa, ask UIS about Admissions.”
- “Alexa, ask UIS about housing options.”
International Question Chatbot
Built by the UIS Office of Web Services, the International Question Chatbot [IQ Chatbot] is designed to answer common questions from future international students interested in the University of Illinois Springfield. The IQ Chatbot answers questions pertaining to admissions, housing, tuition and costs, campus jobs, etc.
Chat with IQ, our International Question Chatbot. It’s new and will grow in intelligence as it learns.
Content Management System
We researched Content Management Systems available on the market that would best fit the needs of UIS. This included WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and others. After considering 20+ factors, we decided on WordPress CMS for the ease of use for our Editors and Authors, development and extensibility, multi-site network and other administrative features.
Higher Ed Websites
A constant aspect of research for us has been higher ed websites and best practices for the web. A wider effort to enhance our online presence to our audience led to a redesign and refresh project. Changes to the homepage reflect industry standards and best practices that have been carefully researched, and better serve our diverse audiences.
The UIS Flickr channel, created and offered by the Office of Web Services, saves the campus community search and production time. Accessing the channel, finding a photo based on the event it was part of, and downloading a specific size for a website, presentation, slideshow or print project is done with ease. This is not only a university face to the world but also a place to publicly store and organize photos.
We have consolidated multiple social media accounts, created social media standards, and researched social media listening, comparative analyses, social media maturity models, and more. In collaboration with Campus Services and the social media strategy task force, the goal is to provide a strategic and unified UIS voice through social media to promote awareness, engagement, and brand loyalty continues.
- E-Commerce Solutions
The Office of Web Services developed e-commerce solutions that worked directly with the University of Illinois iPay system, allowing you to process online credit card transactions from your department website.
- What’s New on the Web at Illinois Springfield
This HTML email and podcast was sent monthly in 2008, 2009 and 2010 to over 13,000 friends of UIS. Listen to the podcast »
- The Year in Photos
We compiled some of the year’s best photos for 2006 – 2010 into motion slide shows available on our website, as DVDs and on our YouTube channel.
- In addition, we have developed several projects for State agencies in cooperation with the Center for State Policy and Leadership.