Why is YaleSites upgrading its platform?

Most YaleSites are on Drupal 7, which is being retired in the fall of 2023. A long-term support plan is in place for sites that don’t rebuild right away.

The new YaleSites uses Drupal 10 and introduces a component-based design system that’s intuitive and powerful. This evolution marks an important step in Yale’s digital journey, aligning traditional requirements with emerging needs.

The new YaleSites will simplify the user experience for:

  • Building and maintaining sites. Blocks, layouts, taxonomies, and views make creating beautiful, impactful websites easy.
  • Ensuring accessibility requirements. A built-in tool called Editoria11y alerts editors of accessibility issues and provides clear direction for fixing problems.
  • Adhering to Yale identity standards. Flexible, pre-designed components allow for creative expression while maintaining consistency and amplifying the Yale brand.
  • Evaluating site analytics. A metrics tracker is integrated into your site.

What does the upgrade mean for my department?

All YaleSites on Drupal 7 (D7) will need to be rebuilt. Resources to rebuild depend on a site’s pre-determined upgrade pathway.

Upgrade Pathways

The YaleSites team analyzed each site and categorized based on size and complexity. We also took into consideration how the site was initially developed.

  • The department that owns the site will be responsible for rebuilding it on the new platform. Timing is at their discretion and will likely be determined by available resources.
  • Technical expertise is not necessary to build an accessible and Yale-branded site. Departments that do not rebuild right away will be supported on D7 until the rebuild occurs.

Our Self-Service Quick Start Guide will introduce you to the steps for a successful rebuild of your website.

  • Sites in this pathway do not need the customization and resources a vendor would provide. They will be rebuilt through a combination of ITS and department site owner efforts.
  • Departments who do not rebuild right away will be supported on D7 until the rebuild occurs.

Learn what you need to do to prepare for your supported build.

  • Sites in this pathway were most likely built by a vendor for D7. These sites are complex and need outside support to maintain their functionality.  
  • Any sites on Yale servers must have a long-term support agreement with the vendor.

Visit Working with a Vendor to learn about the process.

  • Outdated sites will be archived on archive.org. If necessary, they can be restored.

Our resource guides you through determining whether to archive or delete your website.

Should I choose YaleSites over a custom website?

Choosing the YaleSites platform for building or upgrading a website offers benefits such as cost-effectiveness, standardization, centralized management, reduced need for technical expertise, and scalability. However, building custom websites can be expensive, time-consuming, and requires significant technical expertise.

YaleSites is designed to support visually rich content without needing technical expertise, and it is centrally managed, reducing the need for site owners to handle updates and security. If a custom website is preferred, it comes with the responsibility of maintenance, updates, and consistent branding.

Choosing between YaleSites and a custom build?

Consider the benefits of building on the YaleSites platform versus building a custom website.

Additional Information

When should self-service sites begin rebuilding?

It’s never too early to audit current site content and develop new content. The YaleSites team will be offering training to help guide the development process. Please be on the lookout for training invitations.

Once the upgraded platform is launched this fall, the timing for self-service rebuilds is at the discretion of the department. Sites that do not upgrade in the short term will be hosted and supported via a long-term support agreement.

How will redirects be handled?

A redirect strategy is vital to maintain search engine rankings, user experience, link equity, and prevent duplicate content. There are different types of redirects:

  • Self-service redirects: The new platform will include monitoring that will let self-service builders and editors create redirects for important content and know if a redirect issue exists within a site. Redirect training will be available. If you need assistance, please submit a ticket.
  • External redirects: If you move your site off of the YaleSites platform, be aware that a redirect plan is a crucial component of your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. It’s strongly recommended that you work with your new service provider to properly implement redirects.

What risk level of data does YaleSites support?

YaleSites is for Low Risk data. Yale data is classified as Low Risk if:

  • Yale allows the data to be disclosed to the public.
  • The loss of this data would not cause any harm to Yale’s mission or reputation.

Data Classification is one element of the risk classification of a Yale IT System. Review the Risk Classification Guideline to learn about all three elements. This will help you determine the overall risk associated with the work you do on behalf of Yale’s mission.

Still have questions?

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