1st Annual Website Awards and Open Forum

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


UA Web Branding, aka UA Digital:

The Digital Assets group continues developing shareable assets for implementing new branding guidelines. They are currently merging branches of individual development.

The UX and Governance groups have released their survey of UA website audience and use cases. Details will be posted to the UAweb listserve in the near future. If you know of other listserves or means of communication that would reach people with some connection to university websites (developers, designers, marketing staff, or managers) please contact Bernadine Cannon or Chris Elsner.

CALS is going to be a pilot site for testing and implanting the brand guidelines. The UX and Governance groups will begin working with CALS staff this week to see how well the PSDs from External Relations work for their user needs.

UAweb.arizona.edu will be adding a block soon with basic information about the project and how to participate.

Website Awards


For: Prettiest (nicest design)

  • Arizona Medical Marijuana
  • Campus Recreation
  • College of Engineering
  • Humanities Seminars Program
  • Make Eller Greater
  • Special Collections

For: Meatiest (beefiest and juciest content)

  • College of Engineering
  • Eller Buzz
  • Special Collections

For: You Are Here (most coherent and intuitive navigation and content structure)

  • College of Engineering
  • Humanities Seminars Program


Because of the small number of nominations in two of the categories, the categories were combined for voting into a single category: Best Overall Website. The Borda count method used for the voting determines the outcome of a debate or the winner of an election by giving each candidate, for each ballot, a number of points corresponding to the number of candidates ranked lower. Once all votes have been counted the option or candidate with the most points is the winner. 71 individual people submitted 221 votes (each site you list counts as a vote).

  • Campus Recreation 34% (362 points)
  • College of Engineering 14% (150 points)
  • Special Collections 12% (133 points)
  • Eller Buzz 11% (122 points)
  • Make Eller Greater 10% (114 points)
  • Humanities Seminars Program 9% (106 points)
  • Arizona Medical Marijuana 7% (76 points)


First Place: Campus Recreation

Rebecca Macaulay (lead designer/developer)
Eugene Lyman (co-lead developer)
Elia Nazarenko (systems)

Montage of award winners, trophy, and site screenshot

Nominating comments:

"Good looking - great responsive design."

"This site has a nice, welcoming design which helps the user determine all the activities and services Campus Recreation has to offer. There's a solid color scheme and the background images and front graphics are called according to screen size. Did I mention this site is responsive?"

Second Place: College of Engineering

Webmaster: Jonathan Santos

Nominating comments:

"This is a clean well presented site that's packed with information. It is the prettiest site, it simply sparkles."

"It is a great site. Easy to use and very informative."

"This website is organized in such a way that students are able to find critical info easily and have the majority of their questions answered."

"Easy to navigate to departments in college and individual pages not overcrowded with to much information."

"Very sharp looking."

"Prettiest webpage. Very easy to navigate. Clean and concise."

"Fine, I'll nominate it for all three categories: Jonathan Santos took on a huge project when accepted his job in Engineering. Not only did he have to redesign the college's website, he had to incorporate and sell a constant and consistent theme to the departments. He definitely deserves some recognition for all the work this involved. The site is well-structured, easy to navigate, and provides a great forward facing portal for the college, and The University. I would've choose it for all three categories if I had the option!"

"This website is well put together with great pictures, stories and user friendly navigation. It captures the essence of what engineering is about."

"I use this website all the time and it's a comprehensive resource for information."

"It is one of the premier college pages on campus and is always inovative and functionals."

"This is colorful, very well organized, easy to get to the area you are interesting in to look for specific information. Flows very well and I don't have to search the screen several times to get to the topic I need. Lots of photos of things happening with all the engineering departments and the alumni. Great job team."

"Nice, clean design. Lots of info available at the site."

Third Place: Special Collections

Webmasters: Rebecca Blakiston and the library's Website Steering Group
3rd Year Phoenix Cohort Application

Nominating comments:

"Not only is the Special Collections site pretty, it is very content rich. Researchers across the world can access numerous digital collections, objects, and exhibits. The site also uses structured content bring related resources together, allowing users to dive deeper into materials held by the library, our campus repositories, and other digital archives."

"This project was completed before I was hired at the library, so I didn't help in the design. But it was one of the reasons I wanted to join the library's web team! I like the elegant design and how it showcases the library's unique collections and history. I know the team focused heavily on usability and it shines through in the easy to use site. Plus the responsive design makes it look great on all devices!"

Final Comments

There was presentation at the March 2013 UA Web Developers meeting of a case study of the CCP website redesign that was done by same group who did the Special Collections website.

Many thanks to Margrit Mackintosh for organizing the website awards and to Jonathan Santos for creating the first-place trophy and the certificates for all the winners.

Open Forum

Updates on Drupal:

  • Re the Drupal 7 exploit from a few months ago: haven’t heard any other sites on campus being affected.
  • Drupal 8 still in beta, there should be a release candidate sometime in 2015.
  • Drupal camp Phoenix is coming up in March Fri/Sat ~20/21/22(?). It’s free. Their website http://www.drupalcampphoenix.com/ currently has just an email news signup box.
  • The Omega 4 responsive theme is out. It’s way different than version 3

Health Sciences is waiting on finalization of Banner merge. There may be branding changes for the College of Medicine involved with that.

Q: A one-man shop needs to update a 10 year old website; what responsive Drupal theme would you suggest?
A: Omega, Zen, and Adaptive Theme are all popular options. The best thing to do is see what comes up when you visit https://www.drupal.org/project/project_theme. You’ll find everything from basic frameworks that you must customize to things nearly ready out of the box.

Q: Has any one done a Drupal multi-site recently.
A: Several people did in the past, but not so much now. It just not as much easier as it seems like it should be. Updates still have to be tested on all sites and tested quickly to catch anything that might have been broken. If a database update is required you must still update all databases individually. Other options that might be helpful for managing lots of sites:

  • Domain Access module: you can have a single database but determine what to show (content types, blocks, etc.) based on URL domain. You will have to deal with a shared file structure for different domains.
  • Push shared content to different Drupal sites using XML feeds.
  • Scripting Drush commands

If you have ideas for topics for this year or would like to share something you have learned or are working on please contact the leadership team. They will be meeting soon to plan future meetings.