Working Groups - Princeton University

Vice President for Public Affairs
June 14, 2001
Web Strategy Task Force
Bob Durkee
Getting Closer?
After reflecting on last week’s meeting and on several very helpful follow-up e-mails, I’d
like to sketch a possible approach under which we would establish the five groups described
below. Under this model, each group would have a shorter-term charge that would/could evolve
into a longer-term set of responsibilities.
I sketch this with the understanding that our principal purpose on Friday is to bring Betty
into our deliberations. A number of you have pointed out that she may already have plans that
would address some of the issues we have been discussing. In any event, I fully anticipate that
she will help to clarify and sharpen our thinking.
Group I: Outreach and Assessment
(1) Inform the University community of services available to them to use the
Web to communicate and conduct business.
(2) Assess the desirability of Princeton supporting other potential uses (a) that are
currently available elsewhere or (b) that are likely to become available with
the introduction of new technologies in the foreseeable future.
Short-term: By the end of the summer, (1) have an outreach/communication plan in place; and,
(2) drawing on outside consultants and others, recommend potential additional uses.
Longer-term: Oversee a continuing program of communications and outreach and periodically
assess potential new uses.
Representatives from CIT and Communications, plus others if interested.
Group 2: Policy
Short-term: Develop a set of policy statements to guide University Web usage.
Longer-term: Evolve into a Web Policy Council composed of senior-level
providers and users that would provide continuing policy guidance and help to set
priorities and resolve disputes.
Short-term: By the end of the summer, bring to the task force a set of policy statements that can
help guide continuing University use and support of the Web. Policy statements might be along
the lines of the following:
It is the University’s policy to encourage and support increasing use of the Web to
communicate with internal and external audiences, to enhance programs of teaching and
research, and to conduct the University’s business.
The University recognizes that some uses of the Web will supercede and substitute for
existing practices while other uses will complement other means of communicating,
conducting business, or engaging in teaching and research.
It is the University’s policy to encourage creativity, flexibility and innovation in the use of
the Web, but also to establish basic technical, design, content, and legal standards for
“official” University websites.
It is the University’s policy to require each course, academic department/program, and
administrative office to maintain a website that meets certain established standards, and
also to provide the tools, templates and training necessary for courses, departments and
offices to meet this requirement.
It is the University’s policy to use the Web as its primary vehicle for making timely
announcements of University news, for communicating emergency information, and for
providing information about events and activities (calendar).
It is the University’s policy to make continuous efforts to increase the functionality and
ease of use of University websites, and thereby to increase the success and satisfaction of
visitors to University websites.
Composition: To be determined.
Group 3: Design and Standards
(1) Define what is meant by an official University website and the nature and
level of support to which such sites are entitled.
(2) Create a set of basic technical standards and tools (search engines, contact/
complaint techniques, e-transaction management, official directories or link
lists, etc.) that all University websites could incorporate and propose which, if
any, should be mandatory.
(3) Create a University style guide, design templates, and content management
programs that can be used, as desired, by creators and managers of University
(4) Develop policies and procedures for training and assistance for those
managing a University website.
(5) Recommend strategies for dealing with issues of security, legal requirements,
access for those with disabilities, etc.
Longer-term: Serve as a continuing design and standards group.
By the end of the summer, complete work on as much of the above as possible
and adopt a work-plan and timetable for completing the rest of the proposed
short-term mission.
Composition: To be determined.
Group 4: Home Page
(1) Assess both internal and external user satisfaction (survey) with the current
home page and its key links.
(2) Thoroughly review the structure, organization, design, content and ease of
navigation of the home page and work with the Communications Office as it
develops a new and improved arrangement for the page and selected links to
Longer-term: Develop on-going procedures for assessing use and user
The surveying and assessment should be completed over the summer with
redesign of the home page and initial attention to key links beginning as soon as
possible (with timing somewhat dependent on the hiring of the Communications
Office web manager).
Composition: Led by Communications Office with active CIT support and others (Karen
Jezierny, Kurt Kehl, Kathy Taylor, Maria Gardner) who may be interested.
Group 5: Transactions
Research, share expertise and make recommendations about all of the
transactional "doing business," rather than information-providing, aspects of the
Web, including e-commerce, ticket sales, student admissions, job applications,
library uses, forms, etc.
Provide continued oversight and assessment of transactional uses.
Report on current activities and future plans by the end of the summer.
Composition: Several members of the task force (Nancy Costa, Dave Koehler, Jack Yuncza,
Sandy Mawhinney) are already heavily involved in these questions.