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Bethel Web Portal Project

For many years, Bethel has used a web portal called Blink for internal communication, tools, and resources. Because of changing technologies and community needs, the Office of Marketing and Communications and ITS have initiated a project to replace Blink with a modern, intuitive, robust new internal web portal.

Project Goals

There are 4 primary goals for the project:

  • Replace an aging platform that's no longer supported
  • Rethink the purpose of the internal web portal to leverage our office sites
  • Develop a new portal that better serves prospective students and the Bethel Community
  • Bring similar communication and links together

Replacing an Aging Platform

Blink was built many years ago using a technology called Luminis. Come June, Luminis is no longer providing support for Bethel's version of the platform. What does that mean for Bethel? After June, if anything breaks in Blink, there will be no way to fix it.

We aim to replace Blink with new technology created and maintained by Bethel's development team. This ensures ongoing support, updates, flexibility, and upgrades for an optimized user experience.

Rethinking the Internal Web Portal to Leverage Office Sites

Blink was created as a reflection of Bethel's web reality at the time. In the early days of Bethel's website, a large amount of important information was stored in Bethelnet, which was only available to internal community members. The web portal helped users find information, forms, policies, etc. in Bethelnet.

Several years ago, Bethel launched a new website in a new Content Management System (CMS) called Cascade. With Bethel's new site, important information that used to exist only in Bethelnet was moved to the applicable office's and department's public facing websites, and organized in a way that made it easier for users to find.

As a result, many of the tools and resources in Blink became unnecessary or redundant. Often times, information was being stored in 2 places (the website and the portal) and any time that information needed to be updated, it required updates in both places. Sometimes this meant that the resources, tools, and information in Blink were forgotten and went for long periods of time without maintenance. Currently, much of the information is out of date, many links are broken, and tools are no longer useful.

With this project, we're rethinking the purpose and function of Bethel's web portal to leverage the work that's been done on office websites and create a system that better reflects our web environment today.

Developing a Web Portal that Serves Prospective Students and the Bethel Community

With this project, we have an opportunity to develop a modern, robust, useful internal web portal that serves Bethel's various audiences and, quite frankly, makes everyone's life a little easier.

To that end, we're auditing and evaluating the content, channels, audiences, and resources in Blink to make sure we account for all the various purposes that Blink serves, and making sure that the new portal accomplishes those essential purposes. We're working with key stakeholders to create a web portal that best serves prospective students and our community. And we're focusing on sustainability and usability to create a web portal that is useful and intuitive.

Bringing Similar Communication and Links Together

In the current portal, there are many links on various channels spread throughout multiple tabs. We've found through our audits that many links are reproduced across channels, which makes it hard for users to determine the different functions of these channels when content is very similar. We think there's an an opportunity to consolidate information by grouping similar action items together to create a more streamlined experience for users.

General Timeline

January 2017

  • Develop initial technology specs and samples for web portal
  • Partner with Web Strategists Kelsey Lundberg and Erik Gruber for planning, auditing, assessment, strategy, and content planning and development

February 2017

  • Internal project kickoff meeting
  • Identify capabilities and strategy
  • Gather project requirements
  • Audit and assess all channel content and targeted audiences

March 2017

  • Identify key stakeholders for communication and feedback
  • Start planning new IA and a possible channel map
  • Plan for stakeholder meetings

April 2017

  • Meet with stakeholders
  • Plan content and migration needs
  • Develop new portal content
  • Develop technical features

May 2017

  • Meet with stakeholders
  • Plan content and migration needs
  • Develop new portal content
  • Develop technical features

June 2017

  • Launch a working prototype for stakeholder review
  • Begin stakeholder review
  • Update instructions and communication referencing Blink
  • Continue to develop new content and features

July 2017

  • Stakeholder review
  • Update instructions and communication referencing Blink

August 2017

  • Update instructions and communication referencing Blink
  • Web author training as needed

Mid-September 2017

  • Launch web portal