UBCO CMS Enhancements June 2019

Below is a quick rundown of noteworthy enhancements added to the UBCO CMS in June 2019.

To see the full list of enhancement requests or to request something new, please visit our Enhancement Requests page.

Upcoming UBCO CMS Update: Plugins and WordPress core 5.2.2

The IT Web Team is currently testing an update of the UBCO CMS to WordPress version 5.2.2. This critical and long-overdue upgrade will get UBCO CMS up to the newest version of WordPress which includes the latest recommended security patches. Plugins currently installed on UBCO CMS will also be updated to their most recent version.

The update is slated for late-July and will be deployed after regular office hours to minimize impact on UBCO CMS users. More email reminders to come as we get closer to a firm upgrade date.

Major UBC-wide Website Outage

On June 18, UBC experienced a major system outage which affected all UBC websites on the UBCO CMS, UBC CTLT CMS, UBC Blogs, and ACM. Nearly all UBC website services were impacted including the Student Services Centre (SSC), HRMS, CWL authentication services, and FASmail. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

UBC IT Operations has kept an official log of updates here – https://bulletins.it.ubc.ca/archives/35701.

Our own log of updates for UBCO WordPress CMS and UBCO ACM sites can be found here – https://cms.ok.ubc.ca/news/service-disruption-june-18/


Unhide Audience Menu Items on Mobile

For any Faculty/Dept theme websites using the Secondary/Audience Menu, the IT web team will be making the Audience Menu items visible on mobile in the next few days. The Audience menu items will now be visible under the hamburger menu icon, while the Audience Menu bar will still be shown on tablet view. Live examples: students.ok.ubc.ca and education.ok.ubc.ca

IT will also make this part of our initial configuration steps when setting up navigation menus during the Content Starter Pack building stage. Please see the Updates 2 and 3 in the original enhancement request.

See original enhancement request >

Smaller Font Sizes in Tables

Requested for the AVPS students website, we have reduced the default font size within tables to 15px from 18px in the Faculty/Dept theme. [Credit: Kristy Condon, Wiesje Stoneson, Samantha Eastman]

UBCO Directory Enhancements

The following features are now available in the UBCO Directory.

  • On-Leave Until – A date-picker field to select an anticipated return date for any user currently on leave.
  • Edit Warning – A toggle for Admins and Super Admins to flag special cross-appointed users. This is a safeguard to warn fellow Admins not to edit this user profile without first notifying that user (see reminders section for more context). The humorously large warning box is only visible to Administrators and Super Admins, which are the role types that can access and edit all user accounts. Any user who has the edit warning turned on will not see if it has been activated on their account or not.
  • Various labels have been matched between the description labels in the user profiles and the labels output on the user profile page and contact page directory list. eg: “Grants” changed to “Selected Grants & Awards”
  • Several ‘under-the-hood’ CSS updates that make it easier for the web team to hide contact details eg: email addresses, phone numbers etc.

Coming Soon:

  • hideusers shortcode parameter
  • Custom Roles

Extended Media Library with categories

[Carryover from May for more discussion]

As discussed in previous WebCore meetings, we are currently piloting a plugin which allows users to create categories that help organize their media files. The default behaviour of WordPress is an unstructured Media Library.

This feature helps larger websites to categorize and sub-categorize their media files by content types, disciplines, units, programs, etc. as their media libraries grow larger and more diverse. Multiple categories can be assigned to organize your media files.

Below is a list of suggested categories:

  • Homepage Images
  • Landing Page Images
  • Documents
    • PDF
    • Word docs
    • Excel
  • Graduate(s)
  • Undergraduate Program(s)
  • Research
  • Departments/Partnerships/Units (example for Okanagan School of Education: BARK, SMART, Innovative Learning Centre, Centre for Mindful Engagement)
  • Events
  • News Posts
  • Campus Images
  • Student Images

Please submit an IT helpdesk ticket if you would like us to activate it on your website(s).

See original enhancement request >


  • When editing WordPress User Profiles, please be mindful that profiles in the UBCO CMS are ‘universal’. That is, if you edit a person’s profile on one site, the same edits are automatically made on the person’s profile on all other sites they have been added to. This is intentional and is meant to save users from having to update their profiles separately on different websites. The downside is that if one site changes without the user’s knowledge, it creates confusion about the ‘unauthorized’ edits. To avoid such situations, we strongly recommend checking with the individual before making edits to their user profile.
  • As a security measure, the UBCO CMS issues website cookies that expire every few hours. Unfortunately, the result of that security measure is the daily inconvenience of cookie expirations. Depending on how long you have had your browser tab open while editing a page, the cookie may expire, log you out, and potentially your page edits may be lost. The best remedy is to get into a habit of making several smaller updates instead of waiting for one large, perfect update.
  • Related to above, every page/post keeps a revision history of 50 submissions, which means there is no ‘penalty’ in updating often because each submission is saved and recoverable through the revision history. It’s especially safe to publish frequently if your website is still under development!
  • The IT Web Team has the ability to clone individual pages to and from different websites within the UBCO CMS. This includes both pages on live sites as well as websites/pages still under development. Example Lorem ipsum pages can be found in the Cloneable Templates section of the UBCO CMS Demo Site. To request a site or page clone, submit an IT Helpdesk ticket with URLs for both the source page and the destination site.
  • Need dedicated help but can’t make it to drop-in? You can request 1-on-1 training on our Website Training Request FormBased on scheduling, room availability, and other factors, your desired date and time may not be possible, but we will try our best to accommodate.

Enhancements in Progress

Now that all sites (except the IT website) are off ACM and in a common WordPress instance, we can now resume our regular pace of reviewing and delivering enhancement requests. Below are the enhancements currently underway.

Websites launched this month

Active Website Builds

  • Campus Recreation
    • Target launch September 2019
  • UBCO Library
    • Handover/training completed June 3. Site in Content entry stage.
    • Custom development for Library search tab is progressing.
    • Target launch September 2019
  • Management Redesign
    • Project relaunched with new communicator on-board. Existing content to be reviewed by faculty.
  • Office of the VPR
    • Content entry ongoing.
    • IT has migrated research.ok.ubc.ca and celebrateresearch.ok.ubc.ca to WordPress to meet the ACM sunset deadline.
  • Provost Redesign
    • Content Starter Pack and handover/training complete. Now in Content Entry Stage.
  • School of Health and Exercise Sciences 
    • Content Starter Pack to be reviewed. Build will start shortly after sitemap approval.
  • School of Nursing
    • Content Starter Pack to be assembled from cloned pages of other sites. IT awaiting list of pages to be cloned.
  • Central Directory
    • New site created to serve primarily as ‘neutral ground’ for cross-appointed employees.
    • Ideal state is that all profiles will be added to central and Administrators and users should be editing profiles in central and no longer editing in their department sites.
    • More discussion to come at future WebCore meetings.
  • UBCO IT Website
    • This is the last website in ACM. IT web team will manually update the static HTML files on our servers while we work on our own redesign.