Cascade Roadmap

Come learn about the future of content management and the future of digital experiences. Discover how Hannon Hill's products will equip you with the tools you need now and going forward.

Accessibility: How to Make Your Site Accessible—and Maintain It

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Accessibility has become an enormous topic and effort for many areas but especially for Higher Education. Most of us are probably working to get our sites accessible and trying to figure out how to do it as well as how to maintain it. In this session I will cover how we are handling both the retroactive accessibility fixes and the proactive things we are doing to maintain our accessibility. These include tools we are using, training we are providing our editors and the process we use.

I Like to Move It: Dynamic Data

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This presentation will cover how to get dynamically updated data on your website using AJAX, AJAJ from third-party systems with RSS feeds.

Workflow for Dummies

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Your site is about to launch, now what? Ensure that it will remain successful with the proper maintenance and consideration. One way to provide a level of confidence post-launch is instituting a campus-wide workflow process. In this session we will answer the following common questions: What types of workflow should be used? How many review steps should there be? Can changes be published to places other than the production server to add an additional level of review? Can we even get the powers-that-be to buy in to a review process? At the University of San Diego we have successfully established workflow in each our schools and departments that caters to each of their unique needs.

Best Practices for Design Deliverables for Cascade CMS Implementation

Learn the ins and outs of a complete website redesign process. No matter where your site is at or where it needs to go we can provide a roadmap for getting your site from the idea phase into a fully functioning mobile-friendly site that will engage and attract visitors.

Excuse me sir, is that website in your hallway or are you just happy to see me?

Digital Signage can be complicated, frustrating, and expensive for many, but what if there was a way to use the great CMS you already have to manage what appears on your monitors? Could it really be that easy? I will show you how I converted our old outdated system to something new and spiffy that is also easily managed through Cascade… and in our case cost less than $100 for new equipment.

Q Branch: Cascade Web Services for Every Situation

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Q delivered to James Bond tools that were perfect for the situation Bond would be in. Using Cascade Web Services and Wing Ming Chan's PHP library, becoming Q for your website and content managers can be easy. From building WYSIWYG content blocks from plain text, to building page and and adding content blocks, and even automatically creating and updating faculty profiles, small tools built on Web Services can make laborious tasks easy. "Remember, if it hadn't been for Q Branch, you'd have been dead long ago."


  • How CNU converted plain text to HTML WYSIWYG blocks
  • How faculty data is pulled and parsed from Digital Measures, added to blocks, put on pages and published automatically
  • How to convert spreadsheets of data into pages of content, and more!

Configurable Format Scripts for Reusable Elements

Create reusable format scripts by using structured blocks to manage the configuration of attribute locations, micro-templates, options, and asset type identification. The Velocity tools that access Cascade's API allow your format script to skip the index block and pull pages or other assets determined by configurations. The data structure and/or metadata values are then also pulled from configured locations and displayed in editable micro- templates. With this strategy, you can separate scripted functionality, data, and UI. You will save time with configurable format scripts as you change site designs and create new sites.

Iterating Faster with Docker and Cascade CMS

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Docker allows us to package and run applications of any stack in isolated containers. These containers, unlike Virtual Machines, only use libraries and settings required by the app, and not a full Operating System. Utilizing Docker, we will cover how to "containerize" Cascade. This will give us an alternative local work environment for Cascade administrators and developers allowing for faster iteration when it comes to: testing new Cascade versions, testing site-wide settings, roles and groups, writing cross-site formats and blocks, and developing Cascade plugins.

Personas: Who, What, Why and How

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We all use stories to communicate, explore, persuade, and inspire. In user experience, stories help us to understand our users, but how often are we only telling our story? Personas are fictional characters that represent the different types of visitors to your website. In order to engage our users we need to connect with them and their stories. At Cuyahoga Community College, we also use personas as a navigation method. By getting users to self-identify with what they are trying to accomplish, we get them to the right location quicker, which makes it less likely we will lose them and more likely, they will take advantage of our services. This presentation will dive into the persona development process and discuss how personas can help you create a good user experience for your site visitors, ultimately converting them into customers.

Web Team Anonymous

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The unicorn: a hybrid web designer, developer, programmer, content provider, and all-around magical web genius all packed into one nice individual. In between designing a new site, writing content for it, and programming the back-end (that's all done by one person right?) you also need to find some time to serve as your campus web support expert and technical help desk, diligently solving the web problems of your university's website maintainers. In this session we will talk about how the University of San Diego separated web projects and technical tasks from the onslaught of customer support emails and needs, hired the right individuals and positions to serve as an in-house agency, and started a web-specific help desk manned by graduate students to offload the support issues, questions, and problems without impacting the core team.

COPEing Mechanisms, How to Manage a Mobile App with Cascade CMS

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At the University of Montana, we incorporate COPE concepts into our Cascade CMS implementation and web presence. With the launch of our UMontana mobile app, we were able to leverage existing content in Cascade as the source for of much of the app's content. We have also built a way for departments and programs campus-wide to generate new app content within Cascade with minimal involvement from the web team. Through these efforts, we've made content curation much more sustainable cross-platform and found ways to use our limited resources much more efficiently on campus.

We'll discuss using web analytics to set priorities for creating mobile content and using Cascade to deliver existing content by creating XML & JSON files for items like photograph feeds, degree offerings, student clubs, and departmental social media listings as well as our efforts to let department take ownership of specific content in our mobile app.

Documenting the Web Service and Velocity Libraries

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The Standard Model provides two reusable code libraries: one for web services, and the other for Velocity. To make both libraries more usable, source code is annotated in some specific way to facilitate automatic generation of documentation pages. These documentation pages provide descriptions of classes and macros, explanation on how to use the libraries with plenty of examples, and can be generated on any Cascade instance. The two libraries provide code to read the annotations and generate the documentation page contents using either web services or macro invocations.

"No Results" No More! Practical Strategies the Pros Use to Improve Site Search and SEO for Higher Ed

Search engines deliver 55% of the traffic to higher education websites. Social media? 2%. Even more interesting is that 42% of incoming students use either Google or internal site search to find what they need, preferring Google more. And did you know that a website optimized for search engines also improves internal site search results? Double the value!

Although SEO has taken a backseat to social media marketing, it's importance is still very real—and just too important to neglect. In this workshop, Beacon's experts will teach attendees how to use Google Analytics, Google's Search Console, and other industry tools to execute key tactics and effectively monitor the right elements in order to defend your current search engine traffic and grow your content's ability to be found.

Beacon is one of the longest active Google Analytics Certified Partners in the country and has been practicing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for nearly 20 years. During this workshop, you will have direct access to recognized experts in digital marketing for valuable advice and live training that you can take away to immediately improve tracking and results.


This fun, interactive panel discussion will definitely bring energy to the end of your day … and get you warmed up for the Cassies! Win cool prizes! Enjoy special refreshments. Learn and laugh with your CUC friends as we put a unique spin on BINGO while covering today’s hottest web topics from both technology and Higher Ed perspectives. Jordan Burleson, Beacon’s fun-loving digital marketing guru will be your emcee, and certainly drive lively engagement between the audience and these recognized industry experts on Accessibility, Cascade CMS, User Experience, Content Strategy, SEO and Google Analytics.


  • Tracy Dirks, SVP & CPO (Beacon) – Web Design & Development
  • Keana Lynch, Director of UX Design & Development (Beacon)
  • Andrea Cole, Director of Digital Marketing Services (Beacon)
  • Kayla Pierson, Designer & User Experience Specialist (University of Montana)
  • Alvin Chao, Web Services Manager (James Madison University)

This session will run from 3:30 pm - 5:15pm.

Make Your Newsroom Dynamic

Your news articles should be easy to find for the reader, but posting should also be an easy process for anyone on your team. I can show you how to post articles that include metadata and graphics for social media sites, that can display several pieces of information on several pages without the need to copy & paste, and without the need to update several pages for a simple change. This is ideal for any size team with an emphasis on easy-to-maintain newsroom sites.

Migrations: The Next Generation

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CMU web sites have been using a 6 year old template for web pages. A new template was developed in 2016 for the main CMU site and through early 2017 an upgrade path has been developed for our existing sites in the old template. Upgrades include a responsive design and feature improvements. Lauri Francis, Web Developer and Mark Adamson, Manager, Web Operations will share the process, issues, scripting and customer support tips to get existing content into a new design template.

Getting Faculty to Use Cascade CMS

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With a campus of 30,000 students and over 1,000 faculty and 800+ Cascade users, Sacramento State, created an easy to use template to get faculty to create content for the web. By creating an easy way to stamp out a Faculty site template in Cascade, the centralized web team can roll out consistently styled, responsive sites efficiently that allow faculty to easily create content and not have to worry about accessibility, branding, and other headaches. The Faculty template allows faculty to have a a consistent campus look and feel, while highlighting most commonly sought after information.


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The 2017 Cascade User Conference  is over! THANK YOU to everyone who submitted a speaker proposal and attended the event.

Please use the below schedule for reference on what will be offered for #CUC18. We will be accepting speaker proposals through June and are excited to see what fresh, exciting sessions our users will submit. 

Speak to Your Students

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As part of a website redesign project that introduced multiple audience-based sites, Wilfrid Laurier University'ss new web content strategy focused on our prospective- and current-student audiences. We even created a personalized site for our current students: students.wlu.ca.

This session would cover web writing best practices with a focus on writing for a student audience.

The session would also explore:

  • How content creators/editors should work with user experience designers to turn research results into content reality.
  • Getting on board with accessibility legislation. Following accessibility standards doesn't hinder web content - it only improves it!
  • Using results of card sorting, tree testing and labeling exercises to create meaningful, topical paths for students (and convincing the university community to lower their departmental boundaries to achieve this).
  • How to manage all this content in a decentralized model by employing technical tools, training editors properly, conducting audits, and being a service-oriented team.

How Cascade CMS Workflows Completely Changed Our Content Approval Process

Learn how Tokio Marine HCCMIS Group implemented workflows to completely replace our old inefficient and often ineffective method of compliance approval for all new content. Workflows have helped us to get some time sensitive content live instead of missing the opportunity altogether under the old system because we just couldn't get the content approved in a timely fashion.

Section 508 Refresh: Changing Web Governance to Reflect Legal Concerns

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In January 2018, Section 508 will incorporate the WCAG 2.0 AA (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) as part of a final rule. As these changes may increase institutional liability for inaccessible web content, many institutions are considering changes to web governance to ensure full compliance. Attendees are encouraged to share how their institutions are rising to the challenge of web accessibility compliance.

The Swiss Army Knife of Page Types

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Content contributors want freedom to be creative, flexibility to vary layouts and content types, and lots of options—all on the same page. They want a content management system that lets them focus on creating effective content right now, not one that makes them wait while a developer builds yet another variation on the basic page template.

The Advanced Page that Elliance built for The Catholic University of America's website is the Swiss Army knife that enabled the university's content team to build 31 distinctive new websites within a common design system.

Nik Mihalick, tech lead at Elliance, will explain how you can build your own Advanced Page. Bart Pollock, director of web content at Catholic University, will show how easy it is to use this tool to build various kinds of pages, cut rope, open beer bottles, and tighten screws. Or at least one of those things.

Burning the Ground: Taking The Scorched Earth Approach To Launching a New Website Design

When your website has over 400 editors who've created 7,000 web pages using a design that is 8+ years old - the temptation might be to slap on the new design and call it a day! But not so fast! The web team at the University of Central Oklahoma saw this as an opportunity for a fresh start! In this presentation, Darren, Web Content Manager for UCO, will discuss their challenges of implementing a new design including:

THRILLS: Developing a mindset of a customer-focused content strategy

CHILLS: Coaching departments on revamping & restructuring their sites

IMPOSSIBLE FEATS: Building fresh, new pages - no copy/paste allowed

DREAMS: Reducing editors by asking for a small, empowered web content team

EXCITEMENT: Rapid (some might say ridiculous) timelines

FRIGHTS: All while moving forward with an upgrade from Cascade 7.x to Ocho

You will gain from our pain! Join us for all this and more!

One Site Template with Dynamic Global Header and Footer

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At the University of Central Oklahoma, Mark's team needed the ability to produce websites that would contain a dynamic, global header and footer. In addition, the header and footer would need to be:

1) Independently publishable

2) Dynamically included in all pages that use the same site template, and

3) Have a preview inside Cascade Mark will describe how he managed to achieve these requirements.

He will also discuss how the ability to publish the header and footer to multiple destinations, other than UCO's primary web servers, has allowed their Software Development Group to place web applications within the same theme as their websites.

The Administrators Guide to Accessibility: Compliance and Beyond

Most of us understand that web accessibility is about fully supporting people with disabilities. However, it is really an inherent part of creating a better user experience for everyone. While WCAG and 508 standards focus on the technical requirements, human interaction and user analysis are often lost during the design strategy. This may sound overwhelming, but don’t panic! Whether you're a designer, developer, or project manager, this discussion highlights 10 best practices in accessibility, user experience, and inclusive design to extend your knowledge beyond the minimum compliance requirements.

Hannon Hill Presentation: Cascade CMS 8 Series Review

Let's get back to the future! Grab your scrunchi and your boombox as we go on a journey through one of the greatest eras in Cascade history, the 8-ies! You will see not only the latest and greatest features of the 8.x series of Cascade but also a glimpse of what's to come!

Cascade 8 Prep Guide

Cascade Changelog

One Data Definition to Rule Them All...

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In the land of Newport News, on the campus of Christopher Newport University, the Web Services Team forged in secret a data definition to control all others... and into this data definition they poured widgets for various link types, image sliders, and other custom features.

This will cover: 

  • How the data definition is managed
  • Separating content from pages
  • Providing a variety of widgets to clients and more...

Using Database Publishing for Dynamic Website Content

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We're all familiar with publishing pages to web servers using Cascade Server. But did you know that Cascade Server can also publish to databases? Database Publishing can aid in the display of dynamic content on websites. This is particularly useful for large collections of pages, such as, faculty/staff listings, news and events, and any collection that may require tagging or categorization.

Jay will cover the fundamentals of database publishing, including the schema. He will also cover some advanced techniques to assist in record retrieval.