UBCO CMS Enhancements May 2019

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

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

Improved 404 page

We have deployed a new and improved 404 page for websites using the Faculty/Dept theme. It was created to be a ‘softer’ 404 for users who encounter any dead links within your site’s domain. We think this will help improve SEO (reduce bounce rates) by offering lost users with several ways to recover and find what they were looking for on your site.

The new page combines features and wording from ok.ubc.ca, ubc.ca, as well as recommended UX practices for 404 pages.


  • Apologetic message
  • Larger preview of URL that was entered
  • Possible causes of 404 error
  • Larger search bar
  • On-page back browser button
  • Dynamic link to specific to each site’s homepage
  • Links to Website Feedback & Managers and Campus Services pages in ok.ubc.ca
  • The signature UBCO 404 animated .gif

See new 404 page >


UBCO Directory Enhancements

The web team has been hard at work on a release to the UBCO directory which will enable users to create ‘Custom Roles’ for individuals who do not fit as Faculty, Staff, Grad Student, or Leadership.

“With great power comes great responsibility…” Please use Custom Roles judiciously.

The upcoming release will also include:

  • On-Leave Until – A date-picker field to select an anticipated return date for any user currently on leave. [Credit: Amanda Lamberti]
  • 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. [Credit: Meghan Reid]
  • New hideusers parameter – hideusers=”username1, steev, jshaji, rlievers”. This will let you exclude individual users in directory listings by simply referring to their WordPress username in the shortcode. [Credit: Yan Yong]

If you would like to help us test this directory version release, please email us for more information.

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

The plugin is currently being piloted on the new AVP Students website on the Faculty/Dept theme as well as the Campus Planning CLF7 Basic website. If you would like to volunteer as a pilot site, submit a helpdesk ticket and we can activate it on your site.

See original enhancement request >

Redirection list template

We have prepared an Excel spreadsheet that can be used as a template for your redirection lists that are to be submitted back to our team prior to launch of your new site. We can share this template with you during the site build process along with additional instructions/details. [Carryover from May roundup]

Improved line spacing (leading) for items in left side navigation

We have deployed a Faculty/dept theme-wide adjustment to the line-height spacing for long items in the left side navigation. We have reduced the line height to match the standard paragraph line height of the body text. [Carryover from May roundup]

See original enhancement request > 

Increased spacing between bulleted and numbered list items

We have deployed a Faculty/dept theme-wide adjustment to the spacing between list items (bullets and numbered lists). There is now a slight bottom margin of 8px after each full bullet/numbered item. This especially helps to visually separate long sections of text. [Carryover from May roundup]

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

  • All other requests are currently paused or on-hold as we focus on
    • Active website builds and
    • Delivering UBCO Directory-related enhancements

Active Website Builds

  • Biology
    • Target launch date June 3
  • Campus Recreation
  • CCGS (Community, Culture and Global Studies)
  • Chemistry
  • CMPS (Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics)
    • Target launch date June 17
  • EPP (Economics, Philosophy and Political Science)
  • HS (History and Sociology)
  • IKBSAS Faculty Website
    • IT helping to migrate site for IKBSAS as a ‘hybrid flip’
    • Site structure and content to remain the same, but using Faculty/Dept theme.
  • Library
    • Content Starter Pack under review. Handover/training starting June 3.
  • Management
    • LIVE. ACM site migrated to WordPress CLF Basic Theme.
  • Management Redesign
    • Project relaunched with new communicator on-board. Existing content to be reviewed by faculty.
  • Office of the VPR
  • Okanagan School of Education
    • Content under review. Target brand check date June 18
  • Provost Redesign
    • Content Starter Pack and handover/training complete. Now in Content Entry Stage.
  • Student Services
    • Training scheduled with 10+ Student Services staff June 11. Target launch date June 24