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South Dakota State University

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About Drupal

In August 2014, UMC began the process of examining the current state of sdstate.edu.

The purpose was to provide an in-depth analysis of the university’s digital presence. The process included evaluating the current content management system (CMS) by developing key criteria for a quality website, evaluating usability test results, and administering a content editor survey as well as a survey of peer institutions.

Decisions and evaluations were made based on five guiding principles:

  • The web is externally hosted in the cloud, as supported by IT. The cloud provides greater flexibility and does not lock us into one solution.
  • Evaluate the current state of sdstate.edu and solutions as a communications tool rather than a form of technology.
  • Recognize that the web begins with the university’s content management system (CMS). Design and overall content is secondary in the evaluation.
  • Empower the campus community to take ownership of the university’s overall digital presence and provide them the flexibility and necessary tools to be successful.
  • The web supports expectations outlined in IMPACT 2018.

Drupal is a content management platform used by more than 26 percent of all .edu websites as well as whitehouse.gov and the NYSE website. Drupal provides solutions for each of the four key criteria we identified during our evaluation:

  1. Accessibility and language translation: There are federal standards all websites must meet to be compliant. The current sdstate.edu meets few, if any, of these standards. Drupal sites come with accessibility tools we can use immediately to meet these federal requirements.
  2. Mobile optimization: sdstate.edu must meet the demand for increased mobile usage. 55 percent of Americans use their mobile device to browse the internet. Drupal has built-in tools to optimize our site for these different screen sizes rather than our current process of manual configuration.
  3. Audience experience: SDSU must provide the best online experience no matter which of our audiences are viewing our website and no matter what device they are using. Drupal’s community of developers provides resources we can utilize to meet the expectations of our audiences.
  4. Editing experience: Drupal comes standard with a customizable CMS so our users will have better tools and additional options to do more in less time. This new, user-friendly CMS will empower the campus community to take ownership of their digital presence.

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