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Website Design, Implementation and Hosting Policy

May 20, 2013. Revised May 20, 2014
(Revisions are underlined)


Websites have become a critical means of communication for both internal and external audiences. As such, on-going support and maintenance of these sites has become mission critical work. For this reason the college is interested in providing website support services that will allow units to avoid the high cost of hiring outside developers to create sites and will also ensure that unit sites are functional, easy-to-maintain, interactive, secure and unified with the strategic marketing and communications activities of the college and university.
Individual units in ARHU have spent tens of thousands of dollars (sometimes more!) on commercial website design and hosting services. Others fill their website needs by hiring individual developers at low cost and for short periods of time to redesign and develop their sites. However once created, these sites are often difficult to maintain and do not easily allow for change. Lack of consistent maintenance puts unit sites at high risk for security problems that have the potential to lead to interruption in the publication of the sites or, even worse, abuse. In addition, these sites don’t easily connect with the tools available at the college level such as applications for managing information about news and events.
To avoid some of these problems we have established the following policy.

The Policy

The College of Arts and Humanities will provide website design, implementation and hosting services to academic units and centers within ARHU.  Services are provided to assist units in developing websites that are effective in meeting the communication and marketing needs of the units and the college. Going forward, any college unit undertaking a site redesign project will be required to work with ARHU Marketing & Communications and Web & Application Services to complete that project. Support is provided at the following levels:
  • Units who work with ARHU Marketing & Communications and Web & Application Services staff to redesign and implement their site will pay a fee in the range of $8,000 - $12,000 based on the complexity of the site and the services requested. The site provided will be based on the design templates developed for use in the college and will include all features currently available on the college site (e.g., newsroom and events calendar). As new features are made available by the college those features will be offered to all units using ARHU templates. After the first year, there will be an annual hosting fee of $1,200.
A. Design
The Office of Marketing & Communications is working to establish two new web design templates by mid-summer. Templates are being built in response to the need to:
1. Update existing templates with forward-looking technology (responsive design)
2. Update look and feel of our sites to fit new University web guidelines
3. Provide flexibility in individual unit designs while aligning under the banner of UMD/ARHU to maintain consistent look and feel 
Units will be assigned a designer to customize their site’s look and feel while working within template design standards (colors, fonts, logos, headers, footers, etc.). The process will include an initial consultation to discuss overall design and information architecture; two design themes; and three rounds of design edits. An hourly design rate will be applied if further design edits or customization are necessary.
The final designs will need the approval of the director of marketing and communications before implementation can begin.
B. Implementation
The Web & Application Services group is responsible for the technical implementation of the website based on the design mockup provided by the Office of Marketing & Communications. The website will follow the Drupal multi-site configuration.
C. Hosting
The Web & Application Services group is responsible for providing the hosting space for the newly developed website. The group will take care of all the server issues and system issues that include patches, upgrades and security monitoring.
D. Ongoing Support and Maintenance
The Web & Application Services group is responsible for the ongoing support and maintenance of the website that include resolving bugs/issues, and keeping the site up and functional. The website will receive new features as they become available. Any new features/enhancements that are specific only to the unit will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and may incur an additional fee.
E. User Training
The Office of Marketing & Communications will be provide user training and a user’s guide.
  • Units who have worked with an outside developer to produce a Drupal-based site can have their site hosted by the college for an annual fee (current annual rate: $1,200). Support for such sites will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and must be negotiated in advance. Additional programming may be required to bring these sites into the ARHU environment. If such work is required programming services will be provided for a fee to be negotiated in advance. These sites must meet required design standards. These sites must have required design elements (e.g., ARHU logo and UMD web wrap).
  • Units who have worked with an outside developer to produce a Drupal-based site that is hosted by the vendor or an outside hosting agency will receive support from ARHU staff only with an agreement negotiated in advance. These sites must have required design standards.
  • Units who use content management systems other than Drupal (e.g., WordPress) must host their sites in environments other than ARHU hosting environment. These sites will not be supported by ARHU staff. These sites must have required design standards.