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Web Communication Phil Cable

Events site update

The WSU Events site was recently overhauled to provide an improved experience for visitors and users alike. Feedback is welcome and appreciated as the site continues to be developed!

New design

The most obvious change is an updated design. All events for the given day are displayed in the home page header, a search field and filters for viewing events by type or campus are provided below that, and a curated set of events is featured in the body.

All other pages include the given day’s events in the footer, and the entire site has a persistent footer with a calendar for quickly viewing which days have events, “Submit an Event” and “Contact Us” buttons, and a mark that links back to the home page.

Event entry

The new event submission form was designed to be more intuitive and easier to use. Built using WP Event Calendar as a base, some additional fields were added for capturing further details visitors might expect to see.

The venue and organizer entry processes in the previous system led to the creation of multiple duplicates, so the new system offers a simpler interface for both.

  • For venues, there is now a list of buildings to select from, and a “Notes” field for entering more specific details (like a room number, for example).
    • If you don’t see your building listed, or notice that the name of a building isn’t quite correct, please don’t hesitate to contact us about it!
  • For organizer information, there are fields for entering a “Name”, “Email”, and “Phone Number”.

A completely new set of fields is available for creating a call to action link. These are optional and can be used for purposes like linking to a registration or RSVP form.

Users of the previous site might notice that “Tags” and “Categories” have been dropped in favor of “Types”. The “University Organization” taxonomy has been updated, too, and between these two changes, a majority of use cases for “Tags” and “Categories” from the old system are accounted for.

Event feeds

As with the previous site, the new site serves as a system-wide calendar and offers API endpoints that can be used for displaying specific subsets of events on any site.

For sites on the WSUWP Platform, the WSUWP Content Syndicate Events plugin is still the easiest way to display a feed of events. Support for the “Type” taxonomy has been added, and the documentation will be updated to include instructions on how to pull a feed by “Type” soon!

A new taxonomy interface

In an effort to provide a better experience when managing taxonomy terms for posts, we have consolidated the multiple taxonomy meta boxes into one easy-to-use interface.

Rather a complete departure from the default experience, the new interface leverages the Select2 library to simplify and enhance it. Each taxonomy is represented by a single input. Clicking or focusing on a given input will provide the complete list of terms for that taxonomy. The terms can also be searched by simply typing in keywords. Both of these features are exemplified below:

An animated screenshot showing an example of the search support.
Too many terms to scroll through? Just start typing to search!

The process for adding new terms to a taxonomy is largely the same as it was previously. For hierarchical taxonomies like Site Categories, click the “+ Add New Category” text and use the small form that pops up to add the new term. For non-hierarchical taxonomies – like Tags – simply type in the new term followed by a comma. While it may seem strange that the process is different depending on the taxonomy type, there are technical reasons for the differences (one being that Categories and other hierarchical taxonomy terms can theoretically contain commas). Aside from those reasons, keeping the two different processes seemed to make more sense than introducing something new and unfamiliar.

A screenshot showing how to add new terms.
Adding new categories or tags will be familiar to those who are used to the old interface.

For the developers out there interested in including their custom taxonomies in this interface, or using it on custom post types, the
wsuwp_taxonomy_metabox_taxonomies
and
wsuwp_taxonomy_metabox_post_types
filters, respectively, are provided for doing just that. The use of these filters will be documented soon!

March 18 – Open Lab Recap

Hi there! Here’s a brief recap of the topics we discussed in open lab this week.

Spine Updates

Jeremy demonstrated the recent enhancements and bug fixes he has made on the Spine. Check out his post to read about the changes that have been made. They are slated to be released next Wednesday.

Menu Item Highlighting

Sheilah mentioned that if a page being visited is not in the site navigation, but is a child of a page that is in the navigation, that parent page should be highlighted as current. This issue has already been tracked on the Spine Theme repo (#228), but we bumped it up to high priority.

“Quarters” Layout Behavior at Smaller Widths

Sheilah bought up that four column layouts collapse down to two rows of two columns at smaller screen widths. We don’t want to suddenly change this behavior as it has been the default since (presumably) the release of the Spine, but since it is inconsistent with the other layouts – the columns should stack and all be 100% wide on smaller screens – we may add a utility class that can be added to four-column rows to make them behave in a more expected manner.

Content Visibility

Sheilah asked about the possibility of restricting a section of a site to be available to only a few specific users. Leveraging the WSU Content Visibility plugin is probably best way to handle such a task, but it would need to be able to support adding individual NIDs and apply a page’s settings to its children. These features were tracked as issues on the plugins Github repo.

University Taxonomies on Events

Phil bought up that it would be valuable to have the University Taxonomies attached to Events. This should be easy enough to do!

Email Services

We had a good discussion about the pros and cons of different email sending services and options. Many colleges and departments are handling their own sending, and those present today related their experiences with using MailChimp and phpList, and the merits of using UComm’s Crimson Communiqué distribution service.

Content Overflow

Javier pointed out that horizontal scrolling isn’t available when a page has content that is wider than the browser window. In such cases, the overflowing content is simply cut off with no way to access it. We weren’t able to find a fix at the time but will continue to troubleshoot the issue until we do!

Google Calendar Embeds

Joyce asked about adding support for Google Calendar embeds for one of her site users. We added this as a high priority enhancement (issue #31) to the WSU Embeds plugin.

Thanks to everyone who attended. Until next time!

March 4 – Open Lab Recap

The session started off with Jeremy giving an overview on setting up and developing locally in a virtual environment. He also pointed out the Spine Child Theme Skeleton and the Plugin Skeleton as bases for people to work off of.

Topics discussed and bugs found

WSUWP Platform: Colorbox – a lightbox plugin for jQuery – is available on the platform via the Custom JavaScript Editor. Jeremy gave a brief demonstration on how to set up a basic implementation.

The Social & Economic Sciences Research Center offers a survey design clinic.

WSUWP Platform: The DataTables Row Grouping extension for TablePress has been added to the platform.

WSUWP Platform: The people directory, People Display and Content Syndicate plugins were briefly discussed. The people component of the Content Syndicate plugin will be broken out as a standalone plugin.

Spine Parent Theme: The templates aren’t set up to show authorship data from the Coauthors Plus plugin.