Updates to WordPress for the Web Publishing Service coming in Summer 2021

We are excited to announce that we will be implementing updates to all websites in our Web Publishing Service during Summer 2021. These updates will accommodate upcoming changes from the WordPress platform, provide a more modern look and feel, and will improve the accessibility of the sites so that all users can equally utilize them. Additionally, the updates will include enhanced features in the WordPress editor. 

We will be updating sites one at a time from June until August. All site owners will be contacted at least seven days in advance of the scheduled window for their site(s) to make sure the timing works, and we will notify them once the updates are complete. No content on the sites will be removed or altered, as the updates are primarily stylistic. CAEN will manage all steps of the updates, so site owners are not required to take any action.

Refer to the FAQ below for further details about the updates.

What exactly will be updated?

All sites will be updated to the newest College of Engineering WordPress theme, editor, and slideshow plugin. The newest theme is called Renovation, the new WordPress editor is Gutenberg, and we are replacing Total Slider slideshows with MetaSlider slideshows.

What is a WordPress theme?

A WordPress theme determines the look and feel of your site. The theme controls the colors, fonts, spacing, and some aspects of layout. The theme does not include actual content such as text and images.

Why are these updates taking place?
  • We are updating to the new Renovation theme to provide a more modern look and feel, improve web accessibility, and an overall more stable site.
  • We are updating the site editor because it is required by WordPress itself, but the update brings a lot of benefits. The Gutenberg editor provides a more visual editing experience, drag and drop editing for quickly and easily arranging content on a page, as well as much more variety of content and layout options.
  • We are updating slideshows from Total Slider to MetaSlider because MetaSlider is a more robust and stable plugin.
Can I preview the new theme and editor?

To preview a demonstration site that showcases the new design, visit: caenwpdemo.engin.umich.edu

When will my site be updated?

Updates will be taking place from June until August. CAEN Web Publishing will email site owners at least one week in advance, and will provide a one week window of time in which we will complete the update. We cannot guarantee a specific date and time.

What if I have time constraints or scheduling conflicts?

If you have any particular events or days for which you need us to schedule the updates around, please let us know by contacting [email protected] and we will be happy to adjust the schedule.

How long will the updates take?

Typically, site updates take between 1-2 hours, depending on a site’s size and complexity. Some of the larger sites may take up to 4 hours. However, we will indicate in our scheduling email to you if your site update may take 4 or more hours.  

What happens to my site during the update? Will my site be available?

During the site update, we will adjust settings and, in some cases, make minor changes to the appearance of content to make it compatible with the new theme and editor. Your site will be visible to the public during this time, though there may be a brief period during which parts of your site may look unfinished or odd while we are undergoing the update process. We will work diligently and as efficiently as we can to minimize this time.

Is this an optional update?

Since many aspects of these updates are due to upcoming changes in the WordPress software itself and the need for CAEN to utilize the most stable tools to date, this update is not optional.

Do I have to take any action? 

No action is required of site owners. CAEN will manage the updates from start to finish. The only action you may need to take is to inform us if you are no longer a given site’s owner, or if your site is obsolete and can be removed from the Web Publishing service.

I no longer need my site or I’m no longer the site owner. What do I do? 
I need major updates to the content on my site. What do I do?

Contact [email protected]. We will do our best to address your request as early as we can within the limits of staffing and capacity. 

Can CAEN also update the content of my site at the same time as the update? 

Content update requests will be managed separately from the main WordPress updates this Summer. Please submit a separate request for changes or additions to site content by contacting [email protected]. We will service these requests on a first come, first served basis in a separate queue from our scheduled updates. 

How do I learn how to use Gutenberg?
I don’t currently have a CAEN Web Publishing WordPress site. How do I get one? 

View the CAEN Web Publishing service description to learn more and request your own site.

I have other questions or concerns not listed here. What do I do?