Back in November, Chas Grundy wrote about our emergency procedure for ND.edu. When we implemented this feature for ND.edu, we based the functionality on a single-source file. This gave the ability to update the message on both ND.edu and emergency.nd.edu quickly and easily. The added bonus to this approach is that we could then use that same file to build a script that could be used on any Notre Dame site to display the emergency message. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As part of the ND.edu redesign, we created two different designs for the emergency bar. The first is the standard “notification” that we want people to notice, but not convey a feeling of true emergency. This corresponds to the “Level One: Local and Internal” from Chas’ article.
When we really want to grab the audiences’ attention, we do two things. First, we increase the height of the emergency bar and change the color to red. Second, the feature story is replaced by the emergency notification. This is “Level Two: Local but Critical”.
Our mobile site monitors the same file, and in case of emergency the “Emergency” icon is tagged with a notification symbol. Viewing the section then displays the current message. Simple, but effective. We saw visits to this section jump exponentially during our snow closing back in February 2011.
The huge advantage to this approach is that we can display emergency information on dozens (soon to be hundreds) of Notre Dame sites by changing a single file. The script to display the message is available to all Notre Dame developers to include in their sites, and is a simple cut-and-paste install.