At the beginning of the semester we wrote about our new website which debuted in August. This new site is based on a new content management system but all you really need to know is that the site is a collection of informational topics made up of articles. The site is centered around the concept that the VCU community generally visits our site to accomplish a specific task. So we built the site as a set of topics about the products, services, and programs that VCU Technology Services (VCUTS) provides the University community. The topic articles act as a user manual that is continuously updated and never goes out of date. Well, almost never. There are a number of ways to get at this information from using the tabs at the top of the webpages to browse for topics or the search box found near the top of every page to get to a topic as quickly as possible if you know exactly what you are looking for.
Sometimes you know what you are looking for but you are not real sure. A helpful feature that can assist with this “I think I know what I am looking for but I am not so sure” feeling that we all get from time-to-time is the topics listing. On the left side of each page is a topics listing of articles and links that relate to the topic at hand. Many topics use this list as their navigational structure with links to the articles that comprise the topic. These can be helpful when you know the subject you are interested in but you are not sure exactly what that bit of information is that you are looking for. A nifty feature that we have begun to implement on some pages is a top articles list. These are articles that people who have come to our site looking for similar information have clicked on. The more an article is clicked on the higher up the list it goes. The Blackboard topic group uses this to assist with finding information that many others have found useful who have previously visited the site. The top list on the left side of the page suggests a path of exploration for the Blackboard topic but below that is a list of “Popular Blackboard Articles”. These are the specific articles in the Blackboard topic that people who came looking for Blackboard information clicked on the most. The top level Knowledge Base page also uses this scheme to list “Most Popular Topics” and “Top Knowledge Base Articles”. These lists display the most popular topics on the VCUTS site as well as popular articles across all topics.
So when you are visiting the VCU Technology Services site feel free to have it your way to find the topic you are looking for. Whether you are a browser, searcher, or not exactly sure what you are looking for, we’ll try to help you to the information you need. And if you can’t find what you are looking for we always invite you to contact the VCUTS Help Desk for assistance. They are always ready to lend a helping hand.