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Web Communication Jeremy Felt

Upcoming WSU Spine 2.0.0 release

As part of our ongoing effort to make the web at Washington State University accessible, the default template provided by the WSU Spine is being updated to meet WCAG 2.0 AA.

This 2.0.0 release will be a breaking change and will not be pushed automatically to sites that are using Development is in progress on the WSU Spine GitHub repository and we expect to release 2.0.0 on Monday, February 26.

Testing on custom sites can begin immediately with the following assets:


The WSU Spine Parent theme in WordPress will be updated to support version 2.0.0 shortly after release.

Highlights from WSU Spine 2.0.0:

  • Add screen reader shortcuts for main content and navigation to example HTML.
  • Add global styles for screen reader shortcuts.
  • Apply the default Spine color to #glue to help avoid false positives when automatically scanning for accessibility issues.
  • Remove handling of a transparent Spine.
  • Darken default body color to #2a3033.
  • Set body text to the root element font size, effectively increasing the default font size from 14px to 16px.
  • Remove em fallbacks for header font size.
  • Set line-height to 1.1 instead of 100% on small
  • Fix input styles so that font size matches root by default.
  • Set the default input color slightly darker – #717171 on #ffffff.
  • Re-introduce default browser :focus handling (outline).
  • Show default underline on anchors in main.
  • Restore :focus outline on Spine action tab buttons.
  • Improve the experience of the Spine search input field.
  • Avoid trapping a keyboard user in the Spine search input.
  • Fix and accurately describe the social media directory link.
  • Hide Spine navigation from screen readers when focus is on an open action tab.
  • Add more descriptive link text for share options in Spine.
  • Append Spine action sections to li rather than parent section to make screen reader behavior and keyboard navigation more natural.
  • Fix contrast issue with social sharing anchors.

If you have any questions or find any issues, please leave feedback on the WSU Spine GitHub repository, in the WSU Web Slack, or via our contact form.

Share your feedback on the WSU Spine

Hello! WSU Web Communication is working on the next generation of a web framework for use as a base throughout the University. This framework will be made up of several different pieces, including the WSU identity, WSU web identity, and a general toolkit for working on the web at WSU.

In many ways this will be similar to what is now the WSU Spine, which has been the central framework for University sites since June of 2014. The Spine provides the vertical navigation, WSU identity, and mobile friendly framework that is behind much of the web at WSU.

We have a lot of great ideas for where we want to take the new WSU Web Framework, and we’ll be sharing and developing those in the open. First, we want to take a look back and apply the lessons we’ve learned from the WSU Spine project over the last several years.

It would be extremely helpful to have your feedback. If you’re a WSU web reader, editor, developer, or have any interest at all in the future of the web at WSU, please consider completing the WSU Spine Feedback form.

WSUWP Platform analytics now tracked with Google Tag Manager

The plugin managing analytics on the WSUWP platform has been updated to use Google Tag Manager (GTM) as its method for tracking site, application and global analytics. This change affects sites hosted on the central WordPress platform and is not yet a suggested change for other WSU sites.

Managing these Google Analytics tracking IDs through GTM allows us to make changes to how events are tracked in a central area without requiring code level changes across all WSU sites. Our hope is that experimenting with GTM on WSUWP Platform sites now will allow us to have a more robust tracking system deployed in 2017.

No actual changes have been made to how the data is being collected. When these changes are made, we’ll communicate them here so that you’re familiar with the reporting possibilities for your site.

The Google Tag Manager interface only affects how the data is collected. To see a site’s analytics, you will still use the standard Google Analytics interface.

If you notice any issues with analytics tracking on your site, please reach out via Slack, Open Lab, or email to Bob Frank and we can work with you to make any required changes.