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Jumpstart Communications on the Web

Stanford Web Services helps campus deliver critical communications with flexible, extensible templates
Friday, July 1, 2016

If you’ve ever been faced with short deadlines to communicate tall orders, you know how much you would have appreciated a jump start in the right direction. That’s what Stanford Web Services (SWS) has provided countless organizations across campus since first launching the Stanford Sites Jumpstart service in 2013.

While Jumpstart is already used for more than 200 Stanford websites — from administrative office websites to research groups and small centers — this year there’s a new trend. Across campus, people are increasingly leveraging the service as a viable starting point for quick-turnaround, high-profile initiatives requiring a web presence that can grow over time.

Why? With Jumpstart, clients receive a simple website with multiple design options, editable placeholder content, and a friendly administrative experience, making building out a basic site a cinch. In addition, the service comes with some consulting time, a user guide, and in-person office hours to go from idea to launch more quickly.

“Our mission is to help as many groups across the university as we can, and to advance Stanford’s web presence in meaningful, secure, and cost effective ways,” said Sara Worrell-Berg, Director of SWS, a group sponsored jointly by University IT (UIT) and University Communications. “Creating Jumpstart was a game-changer and helped us to scale far beyond what we imagined. It’s so gratifying to see how it is playing a role in supporting important initiatives at Stanford.”

Here’s a look at three websites built with Jumpstart and how the solution worked.

Promoting a major event

Future of Artificial Intelligence website screenshot

Last month Steve Eglash, Executive Director of the Stanford Data Science Initiative, and his colleague, Marjorie Alfs, needed help to create a new website for an event that was just a few weeks away. Turned out it wasn’t just any event: it was “The Future of AI: Emerging Topics and Societal Benefit”, a partner event to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which brought 1,500 people from around the world to Stanford, including President Barack Obama, in late June.

Within a week, SWS helped Steve and Marjorie launch a new website, complete with light design modifications to fit their needs. SWS leveraged existing Drupal features to quickly customize the homepage, including an “affiliates feature” to list sponsor logos ensuring that the event’s co-host - The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy - and other partners shared the event sponsorship credit appropriately.

View the Future of Artificial Intelligence website >>

Introducing a new program

Knight-Hennessy Scholars website screenshot

Last winter, Stanford’s University Communications team approached SWS for help on a website for a major new scholarship program, eventually revealed as the new Knight-Hennessy Scholars program. It needed to be simple, visually powerful, and able to handle potentially high traffic at launch. The timeline to launch was short, and program details were a work in progress.

SWS customized Jumpstart to create a beautiful, accessible and mobile-responsive website at a fraction of the cost that might have been spent with an outside vendor. Using the Jumpstart platform saved hours of design and development effort and provided a strong base from which the website can grow alongside the new program. To help prospective scholarship applicants get a sense of the beauty of campus, the design leveraged a new full- width banner option to prominently display campus photos.

Lisa Lapin, Associate Vice President of University Communications, lauded the success.

“This site has been a great hands-on demonstration of Stanford Web Services capabilities,” she said.

View the Knight-Hennessy Scholars website >>

Communicating a vision

Redwood City Campus website screenshot

As details were coming together for Stanford’s new Redwood City Campus, University Communications needed a media-rich website where they could post a video, maps, and renderings to help community members understand the vision for this new place.

SWS offered Jumpstart as a quick and simple solution for the Redwood City Campus website. Visitors are invited to explore the new campus using a gallery feature to view project renderings, and important announcements are listed using Jumpstart’s news feature, ensuring viewers can keep up-to-date on the development of this major addition to Stanford.

What’s more, the content is easily managed by communications staff, and Google Analytics is used to report data like traffic sources, popular content, and search terms.

View the Redwood City Campus website >>

Jump into your new site

As a cornerstone service of SWS, Stanford Sites Jumpstart is flexible, easy to use and helps SWS keep advancing toward meeting the broad and evolving web publishing needs of the university. It’s also a service that SWS is continuously improving with feedback and support of clients and partners all over campus.

“It’s a true pleasure to be able to support the diverse needs of our colleagues across campus,” said Linnea Williams, SWS Manager of Customer Experience in UIT. “We look forward to helping future clients get the word out about their projects as well.”

Learn more

To learn more about Stanford Sites Jumpstart, visit

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