Interactive Design offers comprehensive website design services for major University websites, which often involves the creation of a custom WordPress theme. Custom design projects also include a combination of strategic planning, information architecture, writing, and media development. Interactive Design does not offer any of the above as stand-alone services. Due to the labor intensive nature of custom website design, the costs of these projects can exceed the budgets of smaller departments. This has prompted the creation of a growing library of highly customizable WordPress themes, based on Flexi, that are available at no charge to the BU community.
Why can’t I download and install any of the WordPress themes or plugins available on the web?
WordPress at BU has been enhanced for the University community in several integral ways. The easy-to-use navigation reordering tool and the access restriction tools that are integrated with the BU Directory are unique to BU web publishers. Outside themes do not support these additional tools. We have developed these tools to benefit all sites and have created frameworks like Flexi that offer flexible and easy-to-use design and layout options. While WordPress may be easy to use and set up for an individual on his/her own server to run one blog, at BU it is a shared system running more than 800 websites. A problem with just one theme could negatively impact all websites. This is similar to the wordpress.com service itself, which also does not permit users to install their own themes.
Why can’t I hire a developer or agency to develop my own theme for WordPress at BU?
Adding a theme to WordPress is much more than just installing it on the system — it’s a commitment to maintaining it as well. When WordPress is updated, custom themes often need to be revised. WordPress is a shared environment where problems with one theme could impact the stability and speed of the entire service. Outside theme and plugin developers are rarely equipped to provide the long-term maintenance required. While a few custom themes were previously permitted at BU, we now have more than 800 websites in WordPress and no longer permit outside theme/plugin development.
Why can’t I install plugin [XYZ] for my website?
The Web Publishing Team at BU researches and evaluates all plugins available to the BU Community and how they might be integrated into our WordPress environment. When we consider integrating public plugins we first review how they may affect the more than 800 sites currently using BU WordPress. Extensive testing is required to ensure the overall stability of the platform. If you have an idea for a feature or WordPress plugin that would benefit your school, college, or department please contact the Web Team.
How can I communicate with BU’s Web Publishing Team? Who is on BU’s Web Publishing Team?
The Web Team at BU consists of representatives of different IS&T departments as well as representatives from Marketing & Communications. You can contact us by submitting a ticket and ask that your inquiry be directed to “Web Publishing.” Announcements regarding service changes and improvements are announced via the buweb-l mailing list. All BU individuals who are editors or administrators of a website are included on this mailing list (unless you have opted out).