One of the first decisions that the project team — Dan Newton, Patrick Patterson, and me — had to make was about infrastructure. The College CMS is one of our options, as are a standalone CMS or a template-driven standalone site.
After a brainstorming session with the library staff, and then with Patrick and Dan, about our functional requirements for the website, and there were two things that came out as key necessities for our website infrastructure: The availability of a sandbox server so that we can experiment with new approaches and do usability testing, and the ability to make immediate changes for instruction and service purposes.
Neither of these are possible with our current campus CMS setup of a staging server that is pushed live twice per day. Given that, we are planning to move forward with creating a site outside the campus CMS. Given our expectations about the complexity of the site, and the variables still in play regarding the setup of the campus CMS, we also decided not to immediately implement a standalone CMS. It seems like more than we need right now.
However, I want to work as closely as possible with the campus Public Affairs web team to make sure that we’re following the visual style of the college site, so that we don’t stand out like a sore thumb in terms of identity and brand, and to take advantage as much as possible of the work our very creative PA team has done in creating a beautiful design. We have also agreed to build a site that is migration-ready — we’re already intending to streamline a great deal, but we want to build the site in a way that will allow us to transition it, in a few years or when necessary, to a new campus CMS or an internal CMS or whatever it is that our next step needs to be. Whatever the case, we want it to be flexible and ready to transition from day 1.