Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. BarcelonaTech
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In 2006, UPC, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia launched the program Zone UPC: towards a new information and communication interface of the University, and in this program, as an important project, started the renewal of the institutional University website.
The new website had to project the corporate image of the UPC and had to be a reflection of its personality as an institution of research and teaching. It had to make it become a meeting point between different groups and had to facilitate access to information offered by UPC.
In addition, the site had to:
- have an attractive design and deliver a satisfactory user experience
- ensure high availability and performance
- have a high level of security
- allow update content quickly and easily and without requiring specialized expertise.
The new website was released on 3 December 2009, after three years of hard work, common and precise by the Communications and Promotion Service toether with UPCnet. It was a job that included the participation and involvement of many people from various units and services of UPC, with the premise of getting a digital channel that was the place to find and to meet. That is, a place to find everything the University offers, while it was a meeting point between the groups, part of the university community and between them and the network of people, businesses and institutions related to the UPC.
Committed to open knowledge, multimedia content and free software, and is divided into three main concepts:
- Access to information via 4 major portals throughout the navigation: UPC, Learning, Research, Community.
- Audiovisual testimonies material about people from UPC and innovative projects. This is the section. Would you know us better?
- Login to unrestricted knowledge generated at the University. Includes sections such as canalUPC.tv (own videos related to studies, teaching and scientific), the Enclau (the newsletter of technology dissemination), Arcitec (the youngest research blog) and UPCommons (open access portal to scientific production and polytechnic knowledge).
The new website of the UPC has received during its first year of life:
- 3.5 million visits
- 11.000.000 page views
Usability and accessibility
Ensuring good accessibility became one of the main objectives and this effort has been rewarded with recognition of the Technosite and Euracert AA certification. The UPC has become the first Spanish University to receive it.
Usability was also another important element to redefine the web. At this moment the contents are fully managed by people without technical expertise and the publishing workflow implemented ensures the proper lifecycle of all contents.
In order to reach everyone, contents and applications on this site are managed using the Open Source Content Management System Plone, as in the service Genweb UPC (which is the tool for creating institutional websites at UPC), and it is implemented following the rules of accessibility AA version 1.0, defined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The good performance of these rules has been carefully checked with the major Internet browsers.
The service has a system of HTTP accelerators and load balancing with a total of up to five servers hosted in the UPCnet virtualization area. This environment also provides high availability and gives the service a lot of flexibility in terms of horizontal scalability, increasing the number of servers involved in an easy and fast way in case of specific and future requirements on terms of high-volume workload.
To play the audiovisual media a version 5 of the JW Player ™ for non-commercial use is being taken, the first fully ever developed with free software.