Improvements to KU Medical Center's website

July 09, 2014

This week, I want to tell you all about a major accomplishment that exemplifies the best of our strategic plan's goals to "strive for constant, never-ending improvement by a team of leaders at all levels by engaging minds and resources to accomplish our best work every day."

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about the technological infrastructure of KU Medical Center's website, www.kumc.edu. For the most part, that job falls to just two full-time and one half-time employees in Information Resources. Others might occasionally think about the actual content of our website, usually when there's something that needs updating or fixing. But our website is the most visible and far-reaching representation of our work, accessible to anyone in the world at any time. More than 185,000 visits are made per month to the www.kumc.edu website, resulting in more than one million page views. The site needs to be visually appealing, the content needs to be current and correct, and the navigation needs to be simple and functional in accordance with website industry best practices.

Four years ago, www.kumc.edu wasn't any of those things. It was enormous, unwieldy, and outdated. There was no centralized way of maintaining it (instead, users updated their own sites while trying to follow suggested guidelines). So in 2010, Karen Chinn, Josh Motsinger and Josh Collins in the Web Design and Management unit, with assistance from Julie Adam in the Office of Communications, began a project to move all of those individual-but-interconnected websites into one central location where the site could be managed easily by experts, and where system-wide updates could be made easily across the entire site. They started in April 2010. As of this summer, they are finally finished.

A few stats convey the enormity of this project:

  • When the team started, www.kumc.edu consisted of approximately 100,000 web pages and 20,000 documents (PDF, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
  • The team reviewed every page and document for accuracy; those pages that were still relevant were manually added to the new system.
  • The website is now much leaner but still robust, with 9,803 pages and 9,394 documents.
  • The team trained 298 people in various departments to manage their own sites, and provides consulting, advice, and ongoing assistance.
  • Our website is now mobile-friendly, adapting to whatever device is being used.


Much work remains to be done, and the web team is now circling back to review and refine the existing pages. For example, I was baffled to learn that when it came to transferring a clinical or basic science department's old content into the new system, the biggest delay was usually getting updated bios from faculty members. Attention faculty! I know that the bio on your departmental website isn't the first thing you think about every day - but for folks outside of our institution, it's likely the first introduction to your work and needs to reflect well on you and all of the rest of us. You may contact your department's website editor to assist with updates to your faculty bio page. 

The team is now in the early planning for another massive endeavor: combining the applications and services on myKUMC with the collaboration spaces in SharePoint while also moving all the content that is relevant only to internal audiences into a password-protected intranet for employees only (similar to 24/7 at The University of Kansas Hospital). Before they get too far into that project, I'd like to pause and thank the web team, along with everyone who contributes to the high quality of www.kumc.edu, for making us all look good. 

Last modified: Jul 17, 2014
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