The Whopping Website Re-write Wows Users

LLC website undergoes major update

Mike McQueen, Multimedia Manager

    The Lake Land College website went live with an update in the middle of August, but this is more than a fresh coat of paint.  For the majority of staff and students, the changes to the Lake Land’s website will seem minor.  They will see a different layout, placing some of the most used links across the top of the page and a general update in style choices for the site.  Underneath those well thought out cosmetic changes is a major overhaul to the foundation of the site itself.

    In September 2014, the last update to the website went live.  For most teams, this would be a time to slow down and take a breath, but not the team at Lake Land College.  Less than a month later, in October 2014, they began the process of making the largest update to the college’s website ever.  This update is not the common refresh to the color, formatting and typeface most websites go through every couple of years.  This was a ground-up rebuilding of the entire Lake Land College website with intricate technical hurdles for the entire team to tackle.

   Together with, Marketing and Public Relations especially their director Kelly Allee and SEMGeeks a digital marketing and web design company, Information Systems and Services developed a vision for the new web site.  Usability studies were performed to find the best solution for Lake Land’s new website.  Special hardware and software solutions were implemented in order to make the switch look seamless.

    The technical challenges stemmed from a change in the nuts and bolts of the software behind the website.  The decision was made to transfer from a ColdFusion application server to WordPress.  According to Wikipedia ColdFusion has been around for over twenty years and is still a very viable platform, but the Lake Land Team was looking for something that would be more user friendly to the various departments whose content needs to be updated on the site.  Per Wikipedia WordPress is a Content Management System written in a popular web programming language PHP and an online database language MySQL.  Content management systems are what make it possible for disparate departments within Lake Land College to enter their content as part of the overall website.  Each department within the college cannot be expected to know how to read and code in PHP or MySQL, so the CMS gives them an easy to use interface to update their specific content.  This helps keeps the site current and useful for students and faculty.

    After nearly two years of planning, studying, and testing they were ready to go live with the new site.  Lake Land College has a brand new gorgeous website and all of the 10,000+ pages are on the new platform with the flip of a switch.  The team’s work continues behind the scenes converting the 10,000+ individual pages over to WordPress, but good luck telling the difference between the remnants of the old versus the new site.  ISS has put much thought into how they rolled this update out, so as to have the each page on the entire site whether on the old or new software have the same Lake Land College 2016 look and feel.

 After speaking with Andrea Daily Business Analyst, Jana Kelly Webmaster, and Hollie Austin Web Programmer, it is easy to see why this massive transition has been so successful.  This team including Web Programmer Matt Gillenwater is entering an entirely new realm of web development.  After many years of developing for the ColdFusion site everyone is having to learn this new paradigm.  If there is one thing that is universally true of programmers they love learning new technology, and that shows in the way the team speaks about the project.  Their final thoughts were to remind everyone to update your bookmarks, because some things have changed, and if you encounter any issues with the site, http://www.lakelandcollege.edu, you can call the help desk @217-234-5261.

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