This month, SMPH’s Office of Strategic Communications staff are interviewing web development vendors and evaluating WordPress hosting options.
Web Vendors Contracts
There are many web development agencies who are contracted to work with UW–Madison schools, colleges, departments, centers and other campus units. A list of contracted vendors can be found on the Division of Business Services website. When working with vendors, it is helpful to share specific project requirements as well as applicable university policies, guidelines, and standards. It is also important to consider capacity for ongoing maintenance.
If your unit is not using the UW–Madison WiscWeb platform,* here are things to consider if you intend to work with a vendor:
- Prior approval from the Division of Business Services is required before contracting with a vendor; if costs are $5,000 or more, a simplified bid process will be needed. (Contracted vendors have already gone through a formal bidding solicitation and do not require a bid process to engage.)
- SMPH departments, centers and units should meet with the Office of Strategic Communications (email@example.com) before contracting with a vendor.
- Vendors may not be familiar with UW–Madison policies and guidelines. Review and share these helpful resources to ensure minimum requirements are met:
- Clearly document objectives, technical requirements, testing requirements, metrics, timelines and deliverables. We’ve shared some of the SMPH relaunch objectives and requirements on this site.
- As content is added to the site, new accessibility issues can be introduced. Plan to test for accessibility issues prior to launch and on a schedule following launch. DoIT’s Center for User Experience provides 2-6 hour evaluations and consultations free of charge.
- Set a schedule to test for broken links.
- Consider your team’s capacity to keep content, plugins, and the core CMS up to date. Managed hosting or a maintenance contact with the vendor may be helpful.
*WiscWeb is the official university platform for creating and maintaining a UW-Madison branded WordPress website. DoIT provides website authoring, collaboration and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage the site’s content with relative ease. The WiscWeb service utilizes a custom campus theme (known as the UW Theme). Many SMPH academic departments, programs, centers and institute use WiscWeb to maintain their sites – in fact, this SMPH Web Strategy site is a WiscWeb site. WiscWeb’s advantages for small- to medium-sized sites include zero cost (DoIT does not charge fees for access, maintenance or hosting), excellent tutorials and support, brand alignment, and continual improvements in digital accessibility aspects of the platform. We recommend using WiscWeb for all SMPH sites that are easily served by this platform.