Support for Externally Developed Websites
Helping Humanities departments, centers and programs to have an effective and impactful web presence is one of the primary services of the Digital Services Group (DSG) at HumTech. To best fulfill this role, we’ve developed and continuously fine-tuned a redesign process that considers all aspects of a great website.
For various reasons, some departments might be interested in working with an external vendor to design and code their website. In these cases, HumTech is happy to assist however we can, but we are constrained in our ability to do so due to our scheduled time focusing on departments who are in our redesign queue.
The information below describes what HumTech can do within our constraints:
Before Launching Website
Prior to the launch of the website, we can:
- Help vet potential external vendors.
- Review contracts.
- Facilitate the deployment of a development environment for the website (ex. dev.department.ucla.edu).
- Provide limited feedback on the website’s design and code.
After Launching Website
We are also limited in the support we can offer after launching an externally developed website due to our lack of intimate knowledge of the website’s code. Despite this, HumTech can still offer the following after a site has launched:
- Hosting and maintaining the server the website is on.
- Saving up to one month of backups of the website.
- Sending monthly site usage (Google Analytics) reports, provided HumTech-provided code is successfully incorporated by external developers.
HumTech is happy to answer questions and provide web development support to a reasonable and limited extent (given the difficulty with following up on another developer’s code). And we can also provide assistance with urgent site updates should the primary departmental website manager be unavailable. These are both only applicable if the website was built using WordPress.
Lastly, it is necessary that the department be responsible for working with the external agency for any technical changes or upkeep required, such as the addition of new pages, changes to overall website architecture, incorporation of new plug-ins/components, and other similar tasks. HumTech is always available for guidance on how best to communicate changes or needs with a technical agency.
Security is of high importance, so HumTech regularly performs maintenance updates to our servers. Most of them are minor but on occasion a major update will be necessary and can potentially break the functionality of a website. Should this happen with an externally developed site, it is the department’s responsibility to engage with the external agency to update the website’s code. HumTech will help you be proactive in anticipating possible website changes by announcing in advance when such updates are coming, so you can coordinate with your vendor on possible fixes or updates that may be needed to your site.
If the site is built using a content management system (CMS) such as Joomla or WordPress, the department is required to make sure it is regularly updated to the latest secure versions.
To protect everyone’s websites, HumTech limits access to the administrative section of your website to only those on campus or using the UCLA VPN.
If you are considering using an external vendor to develop your website, feel free to reach out to email@example.com for additional details. We would be happy to talk with you.