Summer is an ideal time to look through your site and make sure that everything is shipshape for the upcoming school year. The WebTeam has developed tools to help you identify problems and has suggestions for addressing these problems to make your site shine for the fall. Below are solutions to three common website issues – broken links, typos, and images that lack alt text.
Broken links happen. You may have linked long ago to a site that’s now deleted or has since been updated. Such broken links adversely affect your search rankings on Google and are also very frustrating to users who can’t find the content they’re seeking. To help you find and fix broken links, the Broken Link Checker tool on your site’s dashboard will do all the hard work for you. And if you’re one of the primary site administrators, you’ll also be receiving email notifications about broken links on your site.
Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Broken Link Checker tool.
We all occasionally make typos. Unfortunately, typos on websites are there for the world to see and detract from a site’s overall professionalism. To rid your site of typos, you can use the Proofreading tool that’s built into the editor on your dashboard. Just click on the button in the top toolbar and, similar to Microsoft Word, red and green underlines will appear in your text, allowing you to spot issues and correct them.
For a complete tutorial on how to use the Proofreading tool, please click here.
Image Alt Tags
When inserting images into your site, always fill in the boxes for title and alt text. Alt text, which stands for “Alternative Text,” is important for people with visual disabilities because screen readers use it to describe what is in a picture. Google also uses the alt text to determine what a picture contains, allowing people to search for images based on keywords. To create alt tags, try to write no more than one-sentence descriptions that are detailed but not wordy. For example, for a picture of soccer on the med school quad, you could write the following alt tag: “Students play soccer on the Harvard Medical School quad on a beautiful summer afternoon.” The sentence is concise yet fully describes what the photo shows.
Click here for more information on alt tags and click here for a guide to best practices.
The HSPH web team has a great WordPress training session coming up to help you answer all your website questions.
November 22nd at 10:00 AM
If you want to brush up on your WordPress skills or just need to learn how to edit your site, this session is for you.
The training will cover many of the basic WordPress features, including how to edit pages, add images, and configure menus. It will be hands-on in a computer lab, so you can maximize your learning as you follow along.
For more training sessions and announcements, please check out http://hsph.me/wp
Attention Account Administrators
Submitting user account requests has gotten a whole lot easier with the launch of electronic user account forms.
Paperless forms streamline the user account process. Just log in to the site, choose your task, and fill out the form. That’s pretty much it. No need to hand-deliver anything to IT.
Paperless forms also decrease the environmental impact of our day to day operations.
Do I have to wait until the user’s first day to submit the form?
Not at all. In fact we encourage submitting the form up to 30 days in advance!
Once you complete the form the user receives a temporary login to choose their HSPH username. They can do so from any computer with an internet connection. After that, their account should be ready in a few days.
What are the steps to make a new account?
- Log in and fill out the new account form
- You will receive an email, with a temporary login, to forward to the new user
- The user utilizes the temporary login to pick a HSPH login from a dropdown list of 4-5 and accept the user terms.
- An Origin ticket is created with the complete information in your name. and an email confirmation is sent to you with all details of the request.
PIN is currently experiencing technical issues. Cambridge is currently aware of this and is working on fixing it right now.
Services that are currently being affected are:
- HSPH Publisher
- Course Evaluations
- Administrative Forms (ID Request, Employee Departure, etc.)
- Certain iSites
Services that are NOT affected are:
- myHSPH Portal
- HSPH Website
We will keep you updated. Thank you for your patience.
PIN Services has confirmed they have fixed the issue with one of their servers and all of our services should be restored.
Having problems logging into PIN? It is likely your cookies. It will only take a few quick steps to resolve.
- Verify you are using the first 8-digits on your Harvard ID. If not, try again.
- If this does not work, continue.
- Go to the Google Clearing Cookies Instructions Page
- Pick your browser.
- Next, locate your version under “Clearing your cookies.” Follow those instructions to remove cookies.
- *You will only need to do this once.
Why did this happen?
We recently upgraded our PIN-enabled applications to the newest version of Harvard PIN. This has caused a conflict with cookies from the previous system.
If you experience any further issues, please contact the helpdesk at 2-HELP or email@example.com.
We are proud to announce the lauch of a new link shortener service specifically for the HSPH community and its website. This service is called hsph.me.
We can now offer you a way create very short links that point to longer links. A basic example is http://hsph.me/ redirects you to http://blogs.sph.harvard.edu/the-basement/2011/02/04/new-staff-member-erin-b-leveille/.
What is a link shortener?
Wikipedia defines it as:
…a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL aka link) may be made substantially shorter in length and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the web page that has a long URL.
Who else uses link shorteners?
- Harvard Gazette – http://hvd.gs
- Twitter – http://t.co
- Google – http://goo.gl
- New York Times – http://nyti.ms
Why would I use hsph.me over other free services?
- Safe Links and Browsing – When your readers see a http://t.co or http://goo.gl links it is hard to tell whether the website they will be redirected to is going to be a reputable one. Since hsph.me only allows .harvard.edu links your readers can feel safe when clicking on your short links.
- Long Term Use and Support – At any time Twitter and Google can choose to discontinue this service and if you are using theirs then your short links are gone. Since hsph.me is run by the Information Technology Department we can ensure length of the service and can address issues related to it more quickly.
How do I shorten my links?