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UM revamps home page tools

A few subtle but significant changes are in the works for The University of Montana’s home page complex. New and improved tools are available on a beta version of the website at http://beta.umt.edu.

In addition to the visible changes, the new site is hosted on a cluster of four servers rather than a single server, which will enhance speed and availability.

“We can upgrade one server while the others are in operation,” said Tom Battaglia, who heads up the IT web group. “We’ll have no planned downtime. And we’ll sleep better.”

UM Web developers are seeking feedback on changes. To help the effort, visit  http://beta.umt.edu, use the tools and click on the feedback tab on the left side of the screen to report your experiences.

What to look for:

Login

Users now can log into UM’s central authentication services directly from the new homepage using their NetID. The link is found on the top right between the Directory and Search options. Once logged in, the user’s name appears on the page. Click on the name to access secure services like CyberBear, UMOnline and student email without logging in again. In the future, a notice will appear when logged-in users have official messages waiting for them.

Enhanced search

The new search tool returns more than just Web pages and featured UM links. Now you get People and Places. People results are pulled from the campus directory, while Places are connected to the campus map. The results page also displays results from a UM acronym database.

Directory

The directory tool streamlines the people search process. Two input fields, Last Name and First Name, have been collapsed into one and search results are displayed on a single page, rather than requiring users to scroll through multiple pages. When searching for UM employees, users now can click on the department name to view all of the people who work in that department.

Default tab

On the current UM home page, you can choose which tab you want to set as your default, such as Current Students or Faculty & Staff. The new site will simply return you to the last tab you were on during your previous visit.

Feature story controls

The navigation for the feature stories at the top of the home page has been simplified. Now there are arrows on either side of the graphic to allow you to scroll through the features, taking up less space on the screen.

Photo Gallery

A photo gallery has replaced a postcard gallery. In the future people will be able to submit photos for possible inclusion in the gallery.