Why we’re launching Compass in a pilot phase

Compass, VCU’s recently announced web framework, will pilot on select university sites over the next several months. We understand that many in the greater web community may be wondering why our team is launching the framework in a pilot phase, so we wanted to share our reasons.

In short, testing the web framework out before opening it up to the university enables our team to do the following:

  • Identify and correct bugs and potential issues
  • Address feedback we’ve been gathering
  • Develop clear introductory documentation for Compass

Identify and correct bugs and potential issues

Our team is currently wrapping up development on the following 10 components for the first release of Compass:

  • VCU’s branding bar
  • Header with site search functionality
  • Footer
  • Main and sub-page navigation
  • Breadcrumb navigation
  • General content area
  • Sidebar/callout content
  • Hero image
  • Accordion
  • Modal/popup window

By testing these components out on real VCU websites over the next several months, we can identify bugs that exist within the components or in how they work together. These 10 core components are ones that nearly every VCU site will use, so it’s important that we get them right.

Address feedback we’ve been gathering

Compass is designed to serve the broad needs of the entire university web community. Early in the discussions around developing the web framework, our team prioritized regular feedback checkpoints with university web managers and leadership so we could commit to making it as useful a product and service as possible.

Throughout the pilot phase, we will be conducting feedback sessions with unit web developers and content managers to get a clear understanding of how Compass can positively impact your workflow. By learning what needs the framework could potentially help fill in your role at VCU, we can build a project roadmap that aligns with your goals.

Develop clear introductory documentation for Compass

While our team is conducting the pilot site migrations, we also will be learning the ins and outs of using the new components and how to best guide you in using them. As we continue to develop Compass, we plan to provide written documentation that shows how and when to use each component, tips for using them successfully, as well as any accessibility requirements to keep in mind — and more.

While the initial Compass launch will provide base written documentation, we will keep building on it to include comprehensive written guides, in addition to video tutorials, case studies and more. If you have suggestions on how we can make documentation that works for various learning styles, reach out to our team.

More information will be shared soon! As always, we encourage you to send your thoughts and questions to compass@vcu.edu.



Missed our Compass announcement? Read it here.

Have questions about Compass? Check out our FAQ page.