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Preparing for T4

April 09, 2019
by Mark Albis and Justin Fansler

In preparation for a T4 soft launch in June, there are important changes which you should be aware of (and specific actions that you can take in advance) to help make the transition smoother. This article outlines work that you can begin now.

Remove any workarounds

If you’ve created creative workarounds for T3 templates, these will most likely not be supported in T4 and should be updated ASAP. For example, placing emojis in navigation elements or hard-coding image references in the HTML of content components. If you have concerns about a workaround you’ve created, please email ysm.editor@yale.edu.

Prepare for footer updates

To create a better connection between data in the profile system and on websites, some information previously stored in Tridion will now be pulled from the profile system, including:

  • Social media accounts: if you would like links to your organization’s social media accounts in the website footer, please add them to the Social Media section of your organization in the profile system.
  • Addresses: make sure the mailing and shipping addresses for your organization are updated in the profile system.

Homepage “About the Image” and “overlay” text is going away

We can convert banner images with “about the image text” to a photo gallery if necessary, but it will require manual placement on a page, chosen by the editor.

Generally, the homepage banners should not be used for editorial or critical content. Rather, they should be used to set the tone for the website (i.e. just window dressing that visitors are not going to interact with very much).

Homepage banners can no longer contain video

This wasn’t a widely used template, but with certain homepage templates it was possible to insert a video in the homepage banners along with images. This will no longer be supported in the new template.

However, you can include the video elsewhere on the homepage or place a video prominently at the top of your homepage in lieu of banner images.

Side column content is being moved to the main column

You may notice that much of the content you previously had in the side column in T3 has been moved to the main column in T4. This is to improve the scannability and accessibility of our sites.

For T4, we’re focusing on making sure a page’s primary content is located in the main column. The side column is now reserved for secondary navigation and specific “Calls to Action” (CTA), which should be used prudently to avoid creating noisy pages that are difficult to scan.

These changes will result in your pages being longer. In general, this is fine, and in most cases encouraged. It’s easier for a user to keep scrolling on a single page to find content than it is to click numerous links to reach the content they want. This is especially true on tablet or mobile device, which now accounts for 50% of overall traffic (a 12% increase in the past year), where loading a new page is more of a nuisance.

If something is not important enough to appear in the main column, it might not belong on the page at all. Also, creating and placing unnecessary content in the side column to fill white space results in poor scanability and makes it likely that visitors will miss some content entirely.

Minimum Image Sizes

In T3, the minimum size required to display an image was 122px wide. In T4, the minimum size is increased to 370px wide; however, we strongly recommend an image is uploaded is at least 1,000px wide to help “future proof” its display.

If an image is too small to display, you will see a red box on the preview site to indicate an image that should be updated. On the live website, an image that is too small to display will simply be suppressed (with no red box).

Alt Text

Please review alt text in the images published on your website and update to follow best practices (a great article is avaiable at https://support.siteimprove.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115000013031-Accessibility-Image-Alt-text-best-practices). In short, any image that is critical to the content on the page should have a descriptive alt text value.

Image Titles

We have added a new field to images that will display a title with images in T4. This field is now available in the schema and you can begin populating it with values. You can see this at https://websites4-storybook.ysmdevs.com/?path=/story/media-images--10-1-media-images-with-captions

Submitted by Justin Fansler on April 09, 2019