Web Support System

The Academic Health Center’s (AHC) web presence is supported by a central web team in partnership with unit web leaders and contacts in the AHC’s colleges, schools, centers, institutes, departments, and other areas. 

One web point person per unit must be identified to handle communication between their unit and the AHC web team.

The web team supports units across the AHC by:

  • steering the AHC’s overall web strategy 
  • offering training, tips, and consultation on web best practices and standards
  • guiding effective web projects 
  • providing a web theme, design, content management system, technical infrastructure, tools, and user support. 

Finding the right web solution

The web is not one-size-fits-all. Many solutions are available to provide a web presence for groups in the AHC. It used to be that the way to get your content online was to “make a website,” but the web has evolved greatly. The AHC’s approach to supporting the web has become more sophisticated to account for this change, and many more options are available. 

It’s important to have a go-to place that you maintain on the web, but independent, standalone websites require substantial administrative overhead and are not always the best solution to serve audiences and help them find what they need. 

The AHC web team partners with you to build a strong, strategic web presence, and to find the best home for it online. We use a framework to determine what web solution makes the most sense to users externally and to sustain internally. 

  • For colleges and schools; some centers, institutes, and clinics; and departments in the Medical School, this presence is typically a standalone website. 
  • For other areas such as programs, divisions, labs, projects, and some centers and institutes, the web presence is typically a section or page within an existing site. This section can have its own distinctive URL, clearly appear as its own section in the structure and design, and is maintained by the unit.

No matter what your web solution is, it's important that it be kept current and relevant for the people visiting it—whether they arrive from a Google search, a direct link in an email, or another route. The AHC web team is here to help, and we count on each web property to have a web point person to ensure its maintained.

If we didn't combine programs, centers, labs, etc. within Medical School departments, and departments/centers/institutes etc. within the AHC's colleges and schools, that would be hundreds of hundreds of individual websites all with separate administrative overhead. Interdisciplinary work is done across AHC units and connections are made with cross-linking, thereby avoiding duplication and promoting accuracy.

Outside the AHC web support system

Not everything falls in the scope of what we support. Some things outside of the AHC web support system include:

  • Anything that is not part of the AHC. This could include: University units not housed in the AHC, professional organizations, student organizations, journals, collaboration sites across multiple universities, and more.
  • Intranet sites besides the AHC Resource Hub and one intranet for each AHC college/school. Read more on intranets and internal audience-focused content.  
  • Standalone sites for content that could logically be housed on an existing site, such as faculty research labs which could live in a research section, Medical School divisions (which could live with their home department), grant projects, and more.
  • Patient-focused content that belongs on University of Minnesota Health. Review these guidelines on content for patients.
  • Content better served by another solution, such as workgroup collaboration and file sharing.

For more detailed examples and possible ways to handle a web property that falls outside the scope of the AHC web support system, visit our summary of ways to make websites.

Managing the web ecosystem

It takes thought and care to maintain a strong web ecosystem. From the web team, to the web point person, to the subject matter expert requesting a change, to the person in charge who can champion decisions, people manage the web sites, sections, pages, and content that comprise the Academic Health Center's web ecosystem.

Follow these steps for a better web:

From "Moving from a world of producing to a world of connecting" by Gerry McGovern:

Chaos on the Web is uncontrolled publishing, uncontrolled growth, uncontrolled production of features and things and stuff. We must move to a work culture that focuses as much on the maintenance and improvement of what we already have, as on the production of new stuff.

 

Web Support Structure

The AHC web team supports a primary web presence for AHC units. There are a number of benefits of being part of the AHC web support system.