Restructuring of WUG with new Digital Services Council!

The California Department of Technology (CDT) recently announced the establishment of the Digital Services Council (DSC).  The DSC has expanded from the Webmaster User Group (WUG) which began in 2006. CDT would like to thank the WUG team for your years of dedicated focus in building this forum, and looks forward to continued collaboration with the web master community within the new formation of the Digital Services Council.

While the WUG was intended for government Web development topics, the DSC will build on this by providing a forum where state partners, local government and the IT vendor community can share information for both web and digital services (including policy, technology, tools and best practices).  

The DSC participants will continue to build and foster relationships within the digital services community and focus on topics including user research and user-centered design.  

The Digital Services Council kick-off meeting will be held May 3rd. Please register to attend by visiting: https://cdt.ca.gov/digital-services-council/.

Please direct any questions to: DigitalServicesCouncil@state.ca.gov.

Thank you! 

The Digital Services Council Team

State Template v5 Beta Survey

Hi Team.

We’re getting ready to release the non-Beta, production version of the State Template v5 next week! We’d like to get a feel of where everyone’s at, with a quick 3-question survey on what version of the template you’re currently using. Your input is greatly appreciated. Please click on the link below to begin the survey. The survey will remain open until 12/29/17. We will share the results with everyone at or before the next WUG conference. Thank you in advance for your participation!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YBWFNFF

Custom Search Element API 1.0 was deprecated on December 4, 2017

 

The Custom Search Element API 1.0, which was deprecated in 2012 in favor of API 2.0, is now no longer maintained. API 1.0 will stop working on December 4, 2017.

You can check if you’re using the 1.0 version by looking at the code on your search page for a call to google.search.CustomSearchControl.  If you are, read on:

Next Steps

Please update your website to use the Custom Search Element API 2.0. The easiest way to transition is through the CSE Control Panel at cse.google.com, where you can generate your new Custom Search Engine code and add it to your website.

For more information, please see the official Google CSE team post.

CMS Survey

Hi Everyone! My name is Kristen Gilly and I’m the webmaster at the Department of Managed Health Care.

We’re currently in the beginning stages of going through with a website refresh, which we will upgrade to the new State Template v5 and are thinking about switching CMS platforms. We currently use DNN 9.1.1, and have been having a LOT of issues with it. Like weekly, medium-high severity issues. I’m fairly new to the department, and was not here when the site was refreshed 3 years ago with DNN – so I’m not entirely sure if our issues stem from DNN, us or are a mixture of both.

When we talk with DNN Support, 90% of our issues are things they haven’t seen before, which leads me to believe that there might be an issue with the compatibility between our back-end development and front-end DNN. For those of you who work with DNN for your public website, do you have a similar amount of issues? Or does it work pretty well? It seems to be a very well written up CMS, so that’s why I’m so puzzled as to why we’ve been having so many constant issues with it.

I’m also interested in hearing any thoughts from those of you who use different CMS platforms – especially WordPress, Sharepoint or CA Web Publishing. We just implemented a workflow process that all of our offices now use to manually update their pages – so if there are any thoughts on the workflow processes of these CMS’s I’d be very interested to hear it.

If you have any recommendations on a specific CMS that I didn’t list – please share! I would love all the advice I can get.

Thank you,

Kristen

State Template (V5 beta) Update

 

Hello Team,

This has been a long time coming, an update to the progress on the development of the State Template V5. First we want to thank everyone that has been collaborating with us either on GitHub or directly on the state template. We encourage feedback and code contributions all the time as this is your state template. We will do our best to incorporate as many suggestions as possible.

In the past week we have pushed nearly dozens of fixes, improvements, and changes to the Beta version on GitHub addressing many reported issues. Below are some highlights of these changes which can be reviewed in detail by visiting the GitHub repository.

  • Fixed accessibility issues with the navigation menus and content modules including Service Tiles
  • Added additional color schemes including two new color schemes: mono and trinity
  • Changed colorscheme structure to avoid duplication of styles in cagov.core.css
  • Made sure all theme colors can be changed in colorscheme css
  • Added a V4 compatible menu style for easier migration path
  • Remedied numerous color contrast issues thoughout the template
  • Updated search to leverage the new Goggle Custom Search API
  • Updated the JQuery library to latest version (1.12.4)
  • Moved JQuery to the head before closing <body> tag
  • Fixed keyboard navigation trapping in the status bar area
  • Added source (LESS) files

I want to take this opportunity to thank Konstantin Koryaka for making most of these changes possible. Please review the latest changes and let us know if you have any feedback or issues. We encourage that you leave your feedback using GitHub. We are getting very close to a production release of the template. We anticipate we should have a release before the year is up. Please help us test the latest version including your experience going from V4 to V5(Beta).

V4 of the State Template will also get updates including the new Google Search API among several accessibility fixes. Our goal is to have those updates before the year is up as well. To see the latest changes to V5 (beta) please visit http://beta.template.webtools.ca.gov/

Thank you for your support and patience from CDT’s web development team.

Understand Your Search Performance with Google Search Console

How is Google doing trying to crawl and index my site?

What search terms are driving most of the traffic to my site?

What can I do to enhance the visibility of my key services and information within search?

These questions and much more can be answered within the Google Search Console. So the first step is:

Register Your Website with the Google Search Console

  1. You must be logged into your Google account (preferably one used for only State business).
  2. Go to the URL https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/home?hl=en&authuser=0
  3. Click on the button at the top right “ADD A PROPERTY” and fill in your website domain
  4. You will need to now register your site, and you will be provided a “Recommended method” (by placing a file on your website – recommended for most static sites.) and 4 more “Alternate methods”. Of the 4 alternatives we only recommend two of them:

HTML meta tag – if you are hosted on the CAWeb service, this is the method you would use. For CAWeb you will need to copy the meta tag from your Google Search Console, and extract out only the tag number (circled in red below – without the quotes around it). Then place it within the “CAWeb Options” settings for your website running within CAWeb, in the Google Meta ID setting.

Note: click the red “Verify” button (shown also in the image below) once you have already saved the Google Meta ID setting within your site in CAWeb.

HTML tag method

 

Google Analytics setting – this is more complex. You must first go to your Google Analytics dashboard, and navigate to the “ADMIN” panel (shown on the left bottom). Once in the ADMIN panel, go to your Property –> Property Settings. In there near the bottom of the page you will find and click on “Adjust Search Console”:

Adjust Search Console

Next you will need to click on the “Edit” link and then select your site to make it available to the Google Search Console for verification.

Edit link

Finally, you must go back to the Google Search Console and “Verfiy” your site.

Google Analytics option

 

Tour the Information of the Google Search Console

Once your have registered your site, if it has already been in existence for any length of time, you will find a wealth of information and insights into how Google, and the rest of the world via Goolge, finds your website’s information.

Google Search Console

To Submit a Sitemap for Your Site

A sitemap instructs the Google crawler in how to crawl your site. If your site is new, or has been recently redesigned or migrated to a new CMS (such as CAWeb), you should submit a new sitemap to Google to direct the crawler in how to index the new site.

In most sites (such as those hosted in CAWeb) the sitemap file is located at the root of your site and is called sitemap.xml. To submit your sitemap to the Console: goto Crawl –> Sitemaps and then click on the red button “Add/Test Sitemap”. What you submit there is: sitemap.xml (see the image example below).

Google Search Console submit sitemap