Design Changes for the Hampshire Website

Have you noticed that www.hampshire.edu looks a little different lately? Once again, Hampshire IT and communications staff have been hard at work to implement more improvements for the Hampshire website. We’ve introduced some small design changes, based on usability testing and best practices, that we believe will have a big impact on making the website more user friendly and visually appealing.

The Highlights of These Enhancements

  • Changes to the homepage layout allow for showcasing a lot more content, in a visual manner, about our awesome students, faculty, staff, alums, and news and events on campus.
  • We’ve changed the letter case styling from all lower and upper case in some areas to follow standard capitalization rules, which makes the text easier to read at a glance.
  • Website pages have been widened to 960 pixels, allowing content to flow on the page without appearing narrow or squished and without as much scrolling. Wider images at the top of each page allow for more opportunity to highlight different aspects of the Hampshire community.
  • Navigation boxes on the left side have been moved down to align more with the content of pages where a user’s eye will notice it. This shift, along with consistent capitalization and lines between menu items, makes navigating through the website a faster and easier process.
  • Content calling for a user to take action, such as requesting information, has been styled differently and moved to the right side of the page where it will catch the attention of the user, as opposed to the left side of the page.
  • Small style changes, such as headline text and background colors, were made to enhance the visual appeal of the content.
  • Social media links have been moved to a consistent location in the footer.
  • A new look and feel for the Areas of Study listing.

Questions, concerns, or feedback about these changes can be sent to drupal@hampshire.edu.

Blogger PostDeliciousTumblrFacebookTwitterRedditGoogle+Share/Bookmark

18. August 2014 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: News | Comments Off

Hampshire’s Successful Migration to Drupal

drupliconHampshire’s website, www.hampshire.edu, was moved over to the Drupal platform last Tuesday, July 8. Prior to this move, content authors had been using RedDot content management system to edit content on the website. We made the decision to switch last year and we chose Drupal for a number of reasons.

Read more about the decision to move to Drupal »

In addition to working on other projects, Hampshire IT and communications staff have worked hard over the last year to learn Drupal, build a Drupal installation to fit our needs, and prepare the website content to be moved automatically into this new system. We worked with Drupal experts from Palantir.net to help guide us in this process, and we also received some great advice from our colleagues at Mt Holyoke who went through a similar migration process in the past.

What does success look like?

The website looks almost exactly the same! The plan was to implement our existing design in Drupal, and that’s what we did.

Did anything change?

The biggest change is that we were able to retrofit our existing design to be somewhat responsive. This means that the website should be easier to use on devices like mobile phones, which is a big deal because mobile web traffic just keeps increasing over time.

The other big change is for our content authors. Everyone updating content on the website needed to be trained on Drupal. We are still in the process of training content authors, but many staff who have already been trained have indicated that they like the new editing interface that Drupal has to offer.

What does the future look like?

Over the next couple months we will be working on changing the design of the website a bit to reflect more modern web standards. This will not be a big redesign by any means, but we will be implementing some changes like wider page content and being able to display more content on the homepage.

Drupal has an abundance of features, some of which allow for content to be displayed on multiple pages, and in different ways, in an efficient manner. We will also be working on setting up these mechanisms to make it easier for our content authors to display information on the website in more visually appealing ways.

There will likely be a large redesign of the website in the future, which will include a cohesive process of discussion and organization around Hampshire’s identity and communication strategy. Conversations are beginning to happen around what this process might entail, but a project has not yet been put into action on this front.

Have any questions, comments, or concerns?

Send them to drupal@hampshire.edu.

15. July 2014 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Projects, Software | Comments Off

Tech Tip Summer Extra: Is Your iPhone Deleting Email Trash?

A recent change to iOS seems to have changed the way email trash is handled on the iPhone and iPad. Read on to learn how to check if your email trash is being emptied behind your back.

About iOS Email Configurations
When email is set up on an iOS device the default option is called “IMAP.” With IMAP, the iOS device acts as a sort of window onto the mail server–the mail you see is actually up on the mail server. The alternative to IMAP is “POP”, which downloads email onto your phone, making a copy of the things on the server. We generally recommend IMAP for setup because there’s no issue with synchronizing–the email on your desktop, the email on your phone, and the email in Webmail are all the same.

Behind the scenes when you set up email on the iPhone, it decides where to put messages that you delete. It used to be that it would create an email trash receptacle on your iPhone and put deleted messages there. However, one of the recent iOS updates changed it so that it now defaults to using the trash on the mail server if you set up your account as IMAP. That’s fine, and even good, because who really wants to manage two trash receptacles? If your email is set up POP then it still uses a local trash receptacle.

So that’s all good, but a second change to the way trash is handled by default isn’t so great: the trash is automatically set to be deleted if it’s more than 7 days old. On an IMAP account that may well mean that it’s emptying the email trash on the server–including email that you threw out on your computer or other devices. On a POP account it will only be deleting email that you threw out on your iOS device.

Checking the Configuration of your iOS Email
We aren’t sure exactly who will be affected by this change, but we ourselves have been affected, so we strongly suggest that anyone using an iOS device check their email settings (and if you have more than one iOS device check it on all of them). Even if you don’t think you care about how trash is handled you should understand what it’s doing.

  1. On your iOS device open up “Settings” and then select “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.”
  2. Select your Hampshire account.
  3. If your account says “POP” then you don’t need to worry about it deleting server trash and can stop here–but if you want to see how often it’s emptying the trash you can continue on. If it says “IMAP,” then select the account again to bring up the account information.
  4. Scroll down and select “Advanced.”
  5. Under “Mailbox Behaviors” select “Deleted Mailbox.” (If you’re using POP then skip this step.)
  6. Look to see which “Trash” is checked. If it’s “On my iPhone” then your trash is stored separate from the server. If it’s under “On the Server” then you’re using the email server trash. If you want to change where trash is put you can select a different option, but the main point here is to find out which it’s doing. (Ignore this step if you’re using POP.)
  7. Select “Advanced” to go back to the previous screen (POP users won’t have to do this).
  8. Under “Deleted Messages” look at the “Remove” setting. This is how often it will empty your trash. If your Deleted Mailbox was set to the server trash we advise setting this field to “Never.”
  9. Go back to the Account page and select “Done.”

11. July 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off

Tech Tip of the Week: How to Get Our Attention

What’s the best way to contact IT for help? That depends on the situation. Here are our suggestions for the most efficient service.

Computer Crisis?
For those need-immediate-attention emergencies, pick up the phone and call the IT help desk at 413.559.5418.

Need Quick Help?
If you have a problem that needs quick–but not immediate–attention, contact the help desk via email at helpdesk@hampshrie.edu.

Have a Question?
If you have a question it’s best to either call (413.559.5418) or email (helpdesk@hampshire.edu) the IT help desk.

Have a Project or Request?
For problems not requiring immediate attention, you can enter a work order in our system. The help desk can enter work orders for you, but it’s quicker for you to do it yourself. That will also free up the help desk personnel for situations requiring immediate attention.

Entering work orders for IT is pretty simple, especially when you’re entering them for yourself:

  1. Go to http://thehub.hampshire.edu (for a shortcut on campus, try typing just “thehub” into your browser, without the quote marks).
  2. Log in using your HampNet ID.
  3. Select “Faculty” or “Employee.”
  4. From the IT Trouble Tickets section select “Enter an IT Trouble Ticket.”
  5. You will be asked to verify your name, location, etc.
  6. Choose the type of work from the drop down list at the bottom and click submit.
  7. If this is a computer problem, you will be given a list of computers assigned to you to choose from (if appropriate–you can select “none” if it’s not related to a specific computer).
  8. Finally, you’ll be asked for a description of the problem; try to be specific and clear about the problem, but don’t fret: if we have questions, we can always contact you.
  9. Submit the work order and you’re done!

You can track the work order from TheHub, too. Just select “Trouble Ticket Status Inquiry,” and you’ll be given a selection of work orders to choose from.

01. May 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off

Tech Tip of the Week: Keeping Mail Under Quota in Crunch Time

If you’re approaching your email quota there are some quick tips to get you under quota. You can skip right to the strategies if you want, or read a little about the quota first.

About Hampshire’s Email Quota
Your email quota is 2.5 GB (gigabytes) of storage. Included in this is everything in your Inbox, any mail folders you have, email trash and mail you’ve sent. If you receive attachments with email those also count towards your quota.

Where to Check How Much of the Quota You’ve Used
If you’re in Webmail, the percentage of quota you’ve used will show up at the bottom of the panel on the left when you’re looking at a list of messages (it disappears when you read a specific message). If you’re in Thunderbird it will show up on the bottom right if you get up to 80% usage. You can also go to https://password.hampshire.edu to see your quota displayed graphically.

In addition to you keeping your eye on your quota, our system monitors quotas as well. As you approach the quota limit you will start receiving warning messages from Hampshire IT.

What Happens When You’re Over Quota
If you do reach quota you will no longer receive new emails until you bring it down under 100%. Note that messages that would put you over quota will never be delivered to your mailbox, so if you’re close to quota and are sent a large message and a small message, the large message could be refused but the small message might be able to be delivered.

While you’re over quota, messages that are sent to you will not be able to get into your inbox, but they’ll keep trying at increasing intervals. Once you bring your quota enough under the limit you will receive the messages that have been waiting to be delivered; note that this might take some time because it depends on the delivery attempt interval.

One side-effect of being at quota level is that you may not be able to store copies of messages that you send. Normally when you send a message a copy is stored in the Sent folder. If you send a message while you’re at quota, you get an error that the message couldn’t be saved in the Sent folder; the message has been sent but you won’ t have a copy of it.

Quick Strategies for Getting Under Quota
Try them all or pick and choose what works for you.

  • Empty your email trash. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on your email trash can and select “Empty” or “Empty Trash.”
  • In Webmail, view more messages at once. Deleting messages is easier if you can see a large list at once. Go to the Settings panel and in Preferences/Mailbox View change the “Rows per page” to the maximum of 200. Make sure to click “Save” to keep the changes.
  • Delete a bunch of messages at once. To delete a group of messages at once, click the first message to delete and then Shift-click (hold down the shift key while clicking) the last message to delete. Then use the “Delete” key on your keyboard to send them in your trash. Now empty your trash to really delete them.
  • Delete messages from your sent mail folder. Email messages that you send are automatically saved in a folder called “Sent.” Select that folder and delete any sent messages you can live without.
  • Get the biggest bang for your buck. Quota issues are often related to the size of attachments in a few messages. To find the biggest files, sort your messages in order of size and tackle the biggest ones. In Webmail, simply click on the “Size” column header twice (the first time it sorts from smallest to largest, and the second click reverses that). Save any important attachments to your computer and then delete the message. In Thunderbird:
    1. If you don’t have a “Size” column header at the top, click on the little icon all the way to the right of the column headings.
    2. Check “Size.”
    3. You can now click on the “Size” column header twice to sort them with the largest messages on top.
    4. Thunderbird has the option to detach attachments from messages, so that you can keep the email message in your inbox without the attachment. Select the message with the attachment you want to detach, and use the “Message→Attachments→Detach All” menu to save the attachment(s) to disk and keep just the message in your inbox.

When you’re done, don’t forget to click on the “Date” header (twice) to get your messages sorted by date received again.

  • Use Thunderbird’s Local Folders. If you’re using Thunderbird, you can create “Local Folders”, which store email on your computer instead of the server. The advantage is that anything in a local folder doesn’t use your quota space; the disadvantage is that they exist only on your computer and if you don’t have a backup system in place you could potentially lose the messages. To move messages to local folders:
    1. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) the “Local Folders” heading on the left-side panel in Thunderbird, and choose “New Folder…”.
    2. Enter a name for your new folder, such as “2008 Inbox”.
    3. Go back up to your email messages and select the group of messages to transfer to this local folder (remember to use click/shift-click to select a big group of messages).
    4. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) somewhere on the selected group of messages, and chose “Move To…” and navigate to the Local Folder you just created.
  • Empty the trash and then compact when you’re done. Empty the trash if you’ve deleted more messages. To make sure you’ve recovered the maximum space possible, it’s also a good idea to compact the Inbox–this happens automatically a lot of the time but it doesn’t hurt to do it explicitly. Right-click (or Control-click on a Mac) on the Inbox and choose “Compact.”

24. April 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: TechTips | Comments Off

Welcoming (Back) Our New Telecommunication Technician

Please join us in welcoming our new telecommunication technician, Dan Cottle 05F, to the Hampshire IT team. We’re happy to have Dan, an alum who worked in the student diagnostic center when he was a Hampshire student, back on campus and working with us once again.

The telecommunication technician assists the network engineer in the design, construction and maintenance of the College’s campus network and phone infrastructure. The technician oversees physical network implementation; works closely with the campus electricians in planning the low voltage portion of new construction and renovations; and provides support and troubleshooting for VoIP ,POTS , CATV, and network infrastructure.

In plain and simple words, if you need a phone set up or some cable wired then Dan is your man. He’ll be assisting Josiah with network and phone related tasks around campus. Dan’s office is on the third floor of the library.

22. April 2014 by Applications and Web Services
Categories: Employment, News | Comments Off

Tech Tip of the Week: Security Certificate Updates

As part of our continuous efforts to maintain secure IT services, we’ve updated our security certificate for Hampshire websites. Confirm the security exception if you’re prompted. Read on for details.

About Security Certificates
If you’ve been following the Heartbleed exploit then you’ve been reading about SSL (Secure Socket Layer). SSL is the secure protocol that browsers use to communicate with web services.

In order to prove that they are secure and truly who they purport to be, web services will provide a browser with a certificate. In order for the certificate to be trusted by the browser, it has to be from an authority that the browser knows and trusts. There are a limited number of Certificate Authorities (CA’s), and they are regulated and audited for compliance; every browser has a list of CA’s that it knows about and trusts (“Trusted Root Certificate Authorities”).

When a browser receives a certificate, it checks that it knows the issuing authority, and looks at other information such as the dates the certificate is valid. If it’s all good, you proceed on to the website without being aware of any of this happening. You can view the certificate for a secure site in your browser by clicking on the padlock icon in the address bar.

Confirming Security Exceptions
If a browser doesn’t recognize a certificate that it is given for a secure site, you may be asked to confirm that you want to allow a security exception. Often this will happen because your browser doesn’t have a root certificate for the Certificate Authority that was issued the certificate.

You should always be cautious when choosing to confirm a security exception. Double-check that you’re visiting the correct site, with no typos. You can look at the certificate and check the Certificate Authority; Hampshire is currently using Starfield as a CA. If you trust that the site is legitimate, confirm the exception.

Why You May be Asked to Confirm an Exception for a Hampshire Site
We have updated our certificates for “.hampshire.edu” sites in order to provide a more secure environment. This was not in response to any specific threat or breach, but part of our regular security maintenance process.

If your browser does not have a root certificate for Starfield, you may be asked to confirm a security exception when you next visit a secure Hampshire site. Once you confirm that exception you should be all set.

17. April 2014 by Kate, School Support Specialist
Categories: Security, TechTips | Comments Off

← Older posts

Newer posts →