Controlling Your Sidebars: Widget Logic

Widget Logic Panel

Ever want to display a widget in a sidebar, but not know how to make it NOT display in that sidebar in some places on your site? Everyone does. There is a tool within our WordPress installation called “Widget Logic.” It’s a more advance WordPress tool because it asks you to write tiny snippets of code called “WordPress Conditionals.” These conditionals are basic “if/then” statements using PHP syntax and are very easy to learn.

Widget Logic can be intimidating to folks. But, really, it’s just a matter of learning the vocabulary and syntax for these terms. Most of the time, you’ll find knowing one or two terms is enough to give you even greater control over which widgets display where. It’s a powerful tool.

We’ve just put together a new tutorial on Widget Logic, complete with links to further information AND a quiz to test your knowledge. Visit the tutorial >>

Optimize your Images!

Editing with Picmonkey

Not all of us is a Photoshop expert. Here are some free, simple tools to resize and crop your images for web uploading, and slideshows, without having to buy or learn new software. Image optimization may be the single best thing you can do to improve the performance of your website and keep your users from being frustrated. Go to the tutorial >>

Making Slideshows with Gallery Slideshows: New Tutorial!

Slideshow with Thumbnail option

Want to add a slideshow to your site? We now have a very simple, lightweight plugin that helps you build a slideshow where you want it. It’s called “Gallery Slideshow” and we have posted a new tutorial to walk you through the steps. Note: For those of you who had used Soliloquy or Slidedeck in the past, we are removing those plugins soon and will assist you with converting your slideshows to this new tool. Although those tools were very “fancy,” we found that there were many conflicts with code that caused them to not display properly in all browsers. The beauty of Gallery Slideshow is that it is based on the built-in WordPress galleries so is very lightweight and doesn’t bog down the load time of your pages or cause weirdness in displays. Here is the tutorial >>

BMG Website Goes Live

BMG Website

The Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics website went live in our new template and multi-network system.  Check it out as it uses many of our dynamic pulls all managed by the administration staff of the BMG department – working hand by hand with our Digital Communications group who provide the technical solutions to the content and subject matter experts of BMG.

New Features and Enhancements to Faculty Data Display

Faculty LIsting

We’ve been working on upgrading functionality for use of Research Faculty Directory data for department sites. These changes have been made in response to requests from departments who are looking for more ways to deploy the faculty data within their posts and pages. The following enhancements are now in place:

More Flexible Faculty Listings:

Now, you can place a single faculty listing, or multiple listings, anywhere within the content any page or post. By inserting the WordPress “shortcodes” right inside of page content, you can load a faculty name, photo, and research title right inside the content of your paragraph or page, wrapping text around it, above it, or below it. The listing will still link to a full bio of the faculty member and keep the user within your site.

Faculty Publication Listings

You can now simply type in a shortcode in the body of any page and it will give you the publications for a faculty member. This is a great timesaver for those who don’t want to necessarily display all the bio information, but want to include a PubMed listing of a given faculty member’s publications within the body of a page or post.

Coming Soon: Faculty Widgets

We are now working on a “widget” that you can place anywhere in your site. The widget will include the thumbnail portrait and name of a faculty member, linking to their full bio. This should be in place in the coming month.

See how to use these new enhancements to the shortcodes for faculty data in our updated online documentation >

For more about WordPress shortcodes, visit the WordPress site >

Student Life Video Project

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We have begun interviewing students for what will become a 16 student interview section of (a yet to be developed, but will also be developed Student Life and Admissions section of our website).

In this project we are working closely with professional videographers in Charlottesville, and Gabrielle Marzani-Nissen, M.D., Assistant Dean for Admissions.

The Dean approved the hiring of consultants for this project, as our video capacity has been out stripped by our video demand.  We’re looking forward to launching the final versions (and the new website) in July.

 

 

The Dean’s Office Messenger Arrives

deansoffice

We have just completed our first month of the new Dean’s Office Messenger. This is a new communications tool in which we have deployed WordPress’s impressive blogging and aggregation tools, developed a few custom plugins, and integrated this with MailChimp email services. The result is a platform that enables targeted, opt-in communications from the Dean’s office to internal constituents.

The past month, we have rolled out the daily and weekly Funding Opportunities and Research Announcements newsletter. Subscribers to this newsletter receive near-daily updates from the UVA SOM Office of Research, or can opt for a weekly digest of the same announcements. And because each news story originates from a single website, you need not go through emails to see the latest news — it’s always live at http://news.med.virginia.edu/deansoffice.

Email view

Funding Opportunities and Research Announcements email, as delivered to your in-box with subscription.

In the future, the service can further expand to other news topics of interest to the Dean’s key audiences: Medical Education, Clinical Practice, Policies, Etc. The system includes a way to require NetBadge login to view private content, but at the same time, opens up most content to the public web. This allows us to leverage the continual influx of new content to improve search engine rankings while ensuring that private content is not viewable to the outside world.

This is not a replacement for, or in competition with, UVA Connect. Rather, by being specific to the Dean’s Office, the Dean’s Office Messenger has to potential to provide valuable aggregated articles that can be shared dynamically with UVA Connect, providing additional content of a more targeted nature, with a more distributed authorship.

Opt-in communications and aggregated news feeds will help to reduce in-house spam while allowing people to decide what communications they want to receive, rather than having to receive it all and filter through it. We are very excited about this first step to building a better news and communications platform for the UVA School of Medicine.

Subscribe to the Dean’s Office Messenger at: http://news.med.virginia.edu/deansoffice/emailsubscription/

 

Academic Strategic Planning Site

asp-site-corner-screenshot

With the launch of the the Academic Strategic Planning process at the School of Medicine, we have partnered with that team to create an open, transparent and interactive communications tool.

In short it’s a website: http://med.virginia.edu/asp/

But with the help of an active content provider, use of feedback, comments and simple surveys, we are able to engage the visitor online, and begin to revision the way the School of Medicine web communications can work.

With video, word clouds and constant updating, replying, feedback and innovation the site will prove to be in integral part of the Academic Strategic Planning at the School of Medicine.

 

New Research Faculty Directory

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We have just completed the initial phase of the new searchable Research Faculty Directory at the School of Medicine. The directory takes advantage of Curvita data, as does the BIMS site. It then extends that data to a set of new JSON objects that are consumable for outside web applications, parsed in a way that is more practical for extended directory use than the current Curvita-delivered XML-RPC web services. For more information, please visit our documentation section.