GovIntranet 4.0 in beta
2 Jan 2015
Work is under way to rewrite the existing GovIntranet theme. The main changes are a move away from the Pods plugin, coding custom post types into the theme, and introducing Advanced Custom Fields to handle post metadata in the CMS backend.
Since the theme was initially created as a custom installation for DCMS, the open version has been updated from feedback, bug reports and client enhancement requests. The next version of the theme will be more in line with WordPress core, with support for installations in sub-folders and renamed folder and database prefixes, and core templates for categories and tags.
Here are some of the changes that I’ve been working on, some in beta with clients.
Homepage layout changes
There will be a new widget area on the top, right-hand side of the homepage, created for wider widgets and promotions. This area has been specifically designed for the “Intraverts” widget, detailed below.
New and updated widgets
Need to know
A new widget that integrates with Google Analytics to highlight tags used in the most viewed pages across the intranet. The widget uses similar settings to the “Most active” widget. Results are split into quartiles and tags are coloured from red to yellow.
A to Z
A new widget to give direct access to the A to Z pages.
A new widget to display closing vacancies within a specified number of days.
Updated with choices to show a featured image or calendar date, with or without excerpts.
Now with dropdown menus for category and document type, and a spinner while waiting.
News stories now have their own taxonomy and do not share categories with tasks and guides.
How do I?
Several changes to the How do I? section are designed to help narrow down navigation choices and help staff to quickly reach content.
The tag cloud will be simplified to only show tags applicable to tasks and guides.
The theme will support hierarchical categories, so you can break down categories into sub-categories if required. Individual category pages will use the core WordPress templates which will improve the breadcrumb navigation bar, allowing for taxonomies in the breadcrumb. They’ll show contextual tags, more prominently, narrowing navigation choices. In the example below, we’re looking at tasks tagged “gym” within the building and office facilities category. This approach will hopefully give greater focus to the results set.
A new filter will allow staff to narrow down search results by content type.
Although grades are still used in the theme, the new staff directory won’t group people by grade. This required a massive amount of processing to find staff by their first or last name and then group them into grades, allowing for people without grades. Moving to Advanced Custom Fields and ditching grades has improved the speed of the staff directory in initial tests.
Improved settings and configuration
Advanced custom fields will give an improved configuration interface and allow you to switch modules on and off.
In development, a new widget designed as a promotional and targeted messaging tool, optionally integrated with the staff directory. The widget will display content to staff when a number of predefined rules are triggered, allowing administrators to target specific groups based on grade, role and team, optionally for a specific time period. The intranet promotions and messages can be placed independently in widget areas around the intranet and will register clicks by staff. Adverts won’t be displayed again if already viewed elsewhere on the intranet.
A bunch of new shortcodes will allow editors to easily insert automated lists of content by tag, document type, category or people from teams.
The move to Advanced Custom Fields will require a database update to convert Pods elements to new formats. I’m busy working on a plugin to upgrade older versions of GovIntranet to version 4.
In the backlog
And there are several ideas bubbling away in the background.
Service update widget, for facilities and IT departments to highlight important service information.
Login widget, allowing staff to login from the homepage, perhaps with some personalisation options.
And I hope to get some support for languages into the theme, and eventually make a theme that will self-install and won’t require complex instructions and downloads from github.