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  • October 11th, 2018
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10-11:30, CG1-3150-Boardroom



Shannon Rivers will give a talk about "Originally intended as a simple aggregation of CMS portlets, the GLOBE Media Library project has become a full-stack, standalone application - WHY?"


Jeff A, Stephen G, Ryan J, Carl D, David V, Shannon R, Tania S, Don K, Helen M, Lara Z

Meeting Notes

Presentation by Shannon Rivers about his work on a media gallery for GLOBE entitled, "Originally intended as a simple aggregation of CMS portlets, the GLOBE Media Library project has become a full-stack, standalone application - WHY?"

UCAR's Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program (a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program)  had the need for a more user-friendly and full-featured media library/gallery/database, so that photos and videos could be stored and searched for by metadata tags.

Their current web interface was a content management system (CMS), so the first thought was to build portlets on top and a user-interface for searching/downloading files.  However, the Java-based CMS was 'locked down', and Shannon did not have permissions to edit the code to build such a library.

Third-party solutions were also explored, such as Flickr.  There were concerns about the longevity of the services and whether they could be flexible enough to meet the requirements.  There were also concerns about dealing with privacy waivers, which were put into place to protect the children in many of the pictures.

After considering the previous two options, it was decided that it made sense to develop the media library in-house.  The benefits would include having insight into the operations and the ability to re-use the infrastructure developed.

The considerations while developing the new application were understanding need, listening to user stories, and fulfilling the technology requirements.

The application is near completion.  It allows filtering by tags, builds thumbnails automatically, and places watermarks on the displayed images to encourage download of the full-res images (which also allows the metrics of the download to be captured).

Discussion led by Stephen Geinosky about the metrics tools used to monitory the new umbrella sites

So far, the main tools used to monitor the new sites are Google Analytics and Crazy Egg.  The latter uses 'heat maps' to show where the user moved their cursor, where they clicked and other useful behavioral metrics.  The sites have not been live long enough to make any meaningful assessment of the gathered metrics, although some minor tweaks were made, including making the main H1 titles into links after noting that users were clicking on them.  Other feedback resulted in narrowing the main page banner image.

We then had a discussion about our website's accessibility.  Testing  the umbrella site using Chrome's Lighthouse (can be found/run within the 'inspect' mode) resulted in a score in the mid-90s, which is very good. Simple things we can do in our websites to aid in improving our scores is to make sure to use headings properly (h1 for main title, h2 for sub-sections, etc, and don't skip heading number, say from h2 to h4), putting in a decent description of all images in their alt tags, and not using slideshows/carousels.

Discussion led by Helen Moshak regarding the current status of Vermilion's flowchart to new 'commons' and 'lab' pages

After going through the various 'commons' area focus groups, Vermilion is now in the Topline Plan phase (see graphic below):

The design standards guidebook has been delayed.

There was also some discussion on the methods of creating heat maps, as there is need to create one to show the distribution of NCAR data and services across our member institutions.

The next WAG meeting is on 13 Dec, at 10AM in ML-239-Damon Room

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