The UTMB Web Blog Tips, tech and news for the UTMB web community

  • Training survey coming soon

    June 9, 2016, 17:44 PM by Pep Valdes

    We were planning to host a few additional Sitefinity training sessions in late May, and here we are in June. No one’s come after us with pitchforks yet, so I’m hoping/thinking that the time we spent developing online training materials and videos is paying off. Websites are getting built; there are now more than 75 UTMB sites using Sitefinity, and the number grows each week. However, we know people learn in different ways, and the in-person training is always a great opportunity for members of our web development community to meet each other and talk, and that’s always a bonus.

    We’re putting a short survey online to get a better sense of what sort of training people are most interested in. Because training is a “side project” for us and we have our own pages to build and update, we want to be sure we’re aligning our efforts with users’ greatest interests and needs. We’ll post the survey here and send an email message out when it’s ready.

  • Sitefinity: Update on training, where we are today

    April 7, 2016, 17:41 PM by Pep Valdes

    This morning we were working with a user new to our CMS, and as we listened to her project needs and were able to rattle off solutions, I caught myself in one of those neat moments of realization. This thing is real, and while there’s still a lot of work to do, an incredible amount has already been done and put in place. As of last Monday, we had about 50 Sitefinity www sites in production, and another seven intranet sites up and running. To the great people on my team, in IS and across the university who’ve contributed to getting us here, THANK YOU.

    We’ve  been asked several times about our next round of “in person” classes. As we’re also users of the tool, we’ve shifted gears and are spending several weeks moving a lot of our institutional content into the platform. However, we are planning to schedule additional classes in the second half of May. The dates are not set yet; we may actually do some polling to see what level of class people need/want most.

    However, no need to wait. We have some great resources online to help you get started whenever you are ready:

  • New map, provider search tool being introduced today

    New map, provider search tool being introduced today

    February 1, 2016, 17:33 PM by Pep Valdes

    We’re soliciting feedback on a new physician/provider search tool and new interactive campus map. Versions of both are now live and available for your review. Here are details:

    New physician and provider search

    A beta version of a new UTMB Health provider search website is being introduced. The directory current includes nearly 400 providers and features locations, photos, patient ratings and more (additional providers—eventually including residents—will be added).

    • The tool is integrated with a tool already used by faculty, managed by the Provost’s Office. Provider’s data for the search is tied to and will be updated in POWER.
    • The provider ratings are sourced from patient feedback via Press-Ganey surveys; results are published to the provider search site only if the provider has received at least 30 patient reviews in the past 12 months.
    • An extensive keyword list is being refined with input from administrators and faculty. These keywords will allow very granular and targeted searches.
    • The site is mobile device-compatible and compatible with all PC and Mac browsers.
    • This is phase 1 of the project; additional features and capabilities are in development.

    We need and welcome feedback. Send comments or questions about the new search tool to POWER Support.

    New campus map

    A new interactive map featuring all three UTMB campuses and all UTMB locations is also being introduced. It is mobile friendly, searchable, and can be edited in real time by project administrators. The map is built over the very familiar Google Maps platform. Some features users may wish to explore:

    • Use the search to find various UTMB locations.
    • Panoramas and Google Street View are enabled for numerous locations.
    • The map supports interior floorplans and plans exist to add to the ones currently available.
    • Users can get directions or share a view/link to any specific site.
    • The map supports virtual tours; additional tours are being developed.
    • The map can be embedded in existing web sites.

    Please preview the map and send your questions or feedback to

    The new map and directory are part of a web suite of tool and updates that were introduced in May 2015. Called the “Web Reboot,” the larger project includes mobile site templates, web link and spelling validation, a digital image library, new guidelines and page requirements, social media changes, and training and tutorials to support the web development community and those they serve. To learn more about UTMB’s Web Reboot, visit

  • Join us Friday: Sitefinity web content management system

    January 27, 2016, 17:32 PM by Pep Valdes

    A high-level introduction for people new to the system (web publishers and developers) is scheduled for this week, on Friday morning. Here are details:

    Introduction to the Sitefinity CMS
    This one-hour session will provide a general project update and overview, define roles and types of users, show the CMS dashboard and primary tools, and describe the templates, navigation and types of pages and content. It will also outline how to request a new site and direct attendees to additional online information and resources.

    Friday, Jan. 29, 2016
    10-11 a.m.
    Levin Hall South Auditorium 2.222

    Here are the DRAFT meeting materials for your initial review:

    The introduction session is open to anyone and there are no prerequisites or RSVPs required.
    The content management system is part of a larger new web suite of tool and updates that were introduced in May 2015. Called the “Web Reboot,” the project also includes mobile site templates, link and spelling validation, a digital image library, new guidelines and page requirements, social media changes, and training and tutorials to support the web development community and those they serve.

    To learn more about Sitefinity and the Web Reboot, visit

  • Morning Sitefinity session full, few slots open for afternoon

    January 25, 2016, 17:31 PM by Pep Valdes

    Monday morning we filled the last few seats in the morning session for the Feb. 11 Sitefinity Intermediate training. We’ve got a few slots left in the afternoon session, from 1 – 2:30 pm.

    To reserve your a spot, send a message to We’ll send a meeting confirmation once the afternoon session fills.

    Remember, we’re also hosting a general introduction to Sitefinity on Friday, Jan. 29 from 10-11 a.m. in Levin Hall South Auditorium. No reservations required for this introduction.

  • Social media site registration coming to UTMB

    December 18, 2015, 17:25 PM by Pep Valdes

    One of the big components of the Web Reboot that we’ve not talked much about in this forum is an overhaul of our social media program. The work’s been running on a parallel track for more than a year; a lot of it is driven by some recommendations that came out of an internal audit done in August of 2014 (summarized here).

    One of the requirements dovetails with a process familiar to web developers: the registration of sites and site owners. We’re going to enhance and put more structure around an existing catalog of the social sites associated with UTMB (You can read moreabout that here, and see the link to register or request a new UTMB-associated social site).

    We’re also going to be working in 2016 to fold/incorporate UTMB’s social media work more cleanly and formally into the Reboot and what we’re doing with “traditional” digital and web projects. The lines blur, and a lot of the same people are involved and share the same objectives. It makes sense.

  • Sitefinity “Work in Progress”

    December 17, 2015, 17:22 PM by Pep Valdes

    The launch of any new enterprise-level solution often feels like a game of prolonged “whack-a-mole”: you address one issue, and another pops up. The development and launch of Sitefinity has been no different. The small crew that worked/is working to install and manage the new content management system has tackled and resolved some major puzzles. We knew our environment (internal and external presence, dev and production environments, load balanced, CMS and non-CMS sites using a variety of templates, versions and approaches, etc.) would keep things interesting. And they have been, yet the team’s been able to get the job done.

    But the moles linger. Right now we’re working on issues with synchronization, load balancing, sharing content across sites, and some authentication. These are important things to have working consistently, and we’re getting good support from the vendor to figure out the best solutions. We’ll get this resolved, and the number one goal is to do it sooner rather than later. We’re still taking requests for new CMS sites, but are holding new ones in a queue until we get these issues worked out (we don’t want people losing work or having to do extra work).

    In spite of the occasional pain, we’re still really enthusiastic about the tool and are excited about sharing it widely. Watch for updates, we’ll post them here.

  • Sitefinity training materials and site request form now online

    December 1, 2015, 17:15 PM by Pep Valdes

    A good portion of the three weeks since the November Sitefinity workshop were spent fleshing out documentation and training material (including video tutorials), much of it shaped and inspired by what we heard during the class. Features, fixes and refinements have been and will continue to be added to the content management system. The CMS is “live” in the sense that it’s currently being used to build and deliver pages; we have begun to accept requests to set up new Sitefinity sites. But it would also be accurate to say we are still in the “soft launch” stage, still working out some processes and running across the occasional bug.

    Sitefinity is easy to use, but you will probably not be able to look at it and intuitively “figure it out.” If you are like me, one of those people who resorts to a manual/instructions/directions only after exhausting every other option, heed my advice: You will like Sitefinity much more if you take 30 minutes to review some of the basics about how the system works. If you have time for a class (next one will be in January), even better.

    Here are some of the materials we already have online:

    External thanks to Mike Cooper and Melissa Harman for developing most of the training site, and to Toby Smith and the team in IS for running with the site registrations/requests.