Public Affairs and Information Technology collaborated on project
Rice bloggers and website editors who rely on the online publishing platform WordPress have a free new resource that is properly branded and easy to use.
Staff from the offices of Public Affairs and Information Technology (IT) collaborated to develop a new WordPress preset package, also known as a theme, that contains a variety of properly branded templates. The theme features a responsive Web design, which means the page can be displayed on mobile phones as well as desktop computers and other devices. It also has coding that makes the page accessible by people with disabilities, such as textual descriptions of photos for blind users.
The new theme came directly from code used to create the new Rice.edu home page, so it meets Rice’s brand standards.
Sean Rieger, director of Web development for public affairs, said the new offering is unique because not only does the WordPress theme offer multiple templates, but it also comes with built-in training.
“We built training materials right into this theme as well as multiple templates that allow users to switch the look of their home page on the fly,” Rieger said. “Once users apply the theme, there is a quick-start page with video tutorials that will help them customize the look and design of their blogs.”
The WordPress design even teaches users how to edit images and offers a free gallery of high-resolution, Rice hero images that can be used in the design. A hero image or graphic is a type of Web banner that is displayed across the entire width of a Web page and is currently a popular design trend, Rieger said.
The new templates are available at http://blogs.rice.edu. Users must log in with their Rice NetID and password. After they are on the WordPress dashboard, users can select “theme” under the “appearance” tab and search for “Rice University responsive hero theme.” Once the theme is activated, users can customize their blogs and pages.
“We hope members of the Rice community will take advantage of this new tool to create Rice-branded blogs and websites that look professional and inviting and feature top-notch writing, photography, videos and graphics,” Vice President for Public Affairs Linda Thrane said.
Rieger said IT and Public Affairs are planning to implement an open-source content-management platform called Drupal in the future. “The beauty of our new WordPress theme is that users will be able to easily migrate over to Drupal when it’s ready,” he said.