ITS Launches Redesigned Website and IT Portal

After months of work by the Information Technology Services web development and strategic communications teams, a redesigned Information Technology Services website aiming to enhance users’ online experience with department services and products successfully launched Monday, April 20.

The project concludes after six months of dedicated work, though initial steps exploring the idea began in early 2019 when ITS engaged the skills of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate program students to assess the existing website and gather data about most-visited pages and links.

Using that data, communications staff assisted by student employees built a site prototype and began close collaborations with web development (“webdev”) to enhance its design and functionality. For optimal site management and support, webdev staff chose Drupal software to construct the new site and its new features, including a scrolling carousel header on the ITS homepage, hoverable dropdown menus in the navigation bar, categorical news tags, and social media integration.

Even with these and other changes, ITS associate chief information officer David Popelka assures the upgrades enhance the website’s underlying purpose. “Getting help and learning more about technology resources at Iowa State is still the focus of the ITS website. The website is here to serve all campus users with a more streamlined and modern user experience.”

Popelka additionally noted the detailed audit process performed by the communications team to ensure all relevant links and forms were properly migrated to the new site. Former web pages that contained strictly informational content about using a product or service were moved to a different platform and other pages that did not reflect user needs or could be found elsewhere within the Iowa State network of websites, like the university’s policy library, were retired.

However, the biggest change to the ITS website is the addition of the IT Portal hosted on the ServiceNow platform through which campus end-users can request IT products and services. The IT Portal replaces the current ITS Services webpage and moves existing request processes linked on that page to a new home.

Implementing the IT Portal required no small effort by systems operations team lead Jason Shuck, who customized the portal in ServiceNow and configured the many service and product requests now housed there. While users can access the IT Portal through a link on the ITS website, an IT Portal Okta tile is also available. To add the IT Portal app in Okta, users are directed to click the blue +Add Apps button, search for “IT Portal,” and after the results populate, add the application titled IT Portal: Managed by Iowa State University.

Once in the portal, users have the choice of three actions: submit an incident ticket (akin to contacting the Solution Center); browse how-to articles about technology; or request a product or service through the portal’s “Service Catalogue.”

“The Service Catalog in the new IT Service Portal will provide a one stop shop for services offered by ITS,” said ITS director of enterprise services Mike Lohrbach. “These are findable by browsing or searching, and because the portal is hosted by ServiceNow, back-end users will be able to better track that status of customers’ requests.”

For an overview of how the new ITS website is different – and similar – to its predecessor, check out the bulleted information below:

What’s the same:

  • Homepage points visitors in the direction they need to go – for service, support, system status update, etc.
  • “Support” web page highlights the Solution Center
  • “Products & Services” web page provides a gateway for requesting IT services and products 
  • “About” web page provides overview of ITS department and leadership
  • “News” web page features chronological articles of ITS projects and achievements
  • Staff directory arranged alphabetically with the ability to filter by team

What’s different:

  • All IT products and services formerly listed on “Services” web page relocated to IT Portal. (ChangeGear no longer used for IT products and services)
  • All IT forms listed on the former “Forms” web page relocated to IT Portal
  • Web pages containing educational or how-to information relocated to IT Portal
  • High Performance and Researching Computing, IT Security, and Digital Accessibility sites linked as tabs
  • “About” web page updated with content and new organization chart
  • Systems Status page added to the main navigation bar

To learn more about the new IT Portal, users are invited to attend a 30-minute “IT Portal Lunch and Learn” via Webex. The schedule is as follows: Option 1 on Friday, April 24; Option 2 on Monday, April 27; and Option 3 on Wednesday, April 29.