The Guide to WSU Profiles


WSU’s Profiles have been developed to meet many needs of many diverse groups on campus. The profiles have a lot of features, but they can be simply created and maintained either by the subject of the profile or anyone they would like to designate.

Profiles have three elements that work together — a Profile page, a Profile Listing page, and an Automatic Profile Groups Snippet. Most people will simply create their Profile page and let others worry about what to do with it. Departmental website designees will most likely be using the Profile Listing pages and maybe the Snippet.

We should mention that for these Profile Pages and Profile Listing Pages, one Gadget that is extremely useful in your Sidebar Gadgets in the OU interface is the “Page Parameters” Gadget. It puts a lot of information you’ll be editing in one easy-to-reach place. You can use it on any page in the system, of course, but these pages really benefit from this Gadget.

New Profile Section Profile Page Profile Listing Page

Profile Section Icon

New Profile Section

Text dialog gathering information for a profile section
All the information gathered for a Profile Section is the same as a regular new section anywhere in else in the site.

If you are making a New Profile Section, it will be somewhere in /profiles/[path/to/your/department]. This will automatically create a Profile Landing Page for you, too. The process is exactly like making a New Section anywhere else in the site.

You’ll want to create a New Profile Section for every “natural” grouping of Profiles you have. That is, if you are a group like the Media Resources Center that five groups inside of it, then you’d want to make a New Profile Section called /media_resources_center/ and then inside that section a New Profile Section for each of the sub groups. You can go as deep as you like.

By default, Profiles will be grouped using these sections (with some modifications possible), but a listing page can also be configured to ignore the groupings. If you think, “I just want this to be a big list,” that’s OK, but we recommend grouping by whatever logical grouping works no matter how you intend to display them because the sub groups may want their own listing pages for whatever purpose.

New Profile Sections can only be created in the /profiles/ portion of the site, but the only difference between New Profile Section and New Section is that the index file created is a Profile Listing Page instead of a Landing Page. One can create a New Section, delete the index and create a Profile Listing Page called “index” in its place and have the same effect. We just want to reinforce the concept that Profiles must go in the /profiles/ portion of the site.

Naming Groups

Profile Listing Pages use the section names to label the groups. It will capitalize the first letters of words and turn underscores into spaces, so if you call your folder new_profiles then the group of all the profiles is going to be New Profiles. As such, if you want your group name spelled out the groupings, be sure to name the folder the way you want it. For example, “media_resources_center” will become “Media Resources Center.” But if we used “mrc” for the folder name, we’d get “Mrc” for the group name. We’d have to call it MRC for it to be MRC on the page.

However, if you capitalize a directory, you’ll probably want to capitalize all of your directories because the automatic alphabetical sorting treats capital letters differently than lowercase letters, and puts all uppercase letters in alphabetical order then all lowercase letters letters. So if it has “A, a, b, c, D, E” it will sort them as “A, D, E, a, b, c.” It’s weird. You can use this to rearrange the order of the folders if you want, but you can also number them.

Ordering Groups

Number the directories if you want them to be in a particular order when they display on the Profile Listing Page. So if you were at /media_resources_center/ and wanted “Web Services” as a group to appear before “Academic Accessibility And Accommodations”, then you would name those sections “01_web_services” and “02_academic_accessibility_and_accommodations.”

If you are planning on using a grouped display, keep in mind that because the group names come from the New Profile Section name, you probably don’t want to name multiple groups with generic words like “faculty” or “staff” — consider using “Dean’s Staff” or “History Faculty.”

Using one

It is likely that you’ll want to use the same file in your Profiles section as you use in the main directory of your portion of the web. So, if the Media Resources Center wanted to use the same file on all of its profile listing and employee’s profile pages (for the “In This Section” menu), it would have two options. It could either:

  • copy the contents of the from /services/mrc/ to /profiles/media_resources_center/ and all of the sub folders, or
  • use the web support form to request that the be used for all those files in those folders

For the second option, only one will need to be maintained.

You can also use one for all your profiles (one that contains all of your department’s groups landing pages, for example), but you will
still have to request that the change be made. But once you do, you will only have to maintain one for all your profiles.


Profile Icon

The Profile Page

The Profile Page contains all the elements that one will need to create a representation of themselves at the university. There are more than 30 parameters and 12 editable-text areas. Everything is optional (except a name).

Getting Started with a new Profile Page

Dialog box that shows when creating a new Profile
When you create a new profile, it will ask you for some bare-bones information, which should be filled out as best as possible, but all fields are options. Note that the image (circled for emphasis here) can be added at this time, but if you don’t already have a 300px by 400px image, you might want to skip this.

When one creates a new profile, one is immediately asked to fill in nine of those more than 30 parameters. They aren’t hard — three of them are your first, middle (optional) and last names. Add some prefixes (Dr., Rev., etc), suffixes (Jr., Sr., PhD., MA) and an image. Then your job title, email and phone number. Again, all of that is optional, so if you aren’t sure or don’t have one or any of those things, just leave it blank and move on. It will use your last name and first name to make the file name, so the file will be Lastname-Firstname.pcf.

Here are some important things to know about the Profiles:

  1. If one of your names (first, last or middle) has a space in it, when creating the profile put in a hyphen instead of a space. You can remove it after creating the file, but there is a bug that doesn’t allow us to create profiles for people with spaces in their names. Example: “Mary Sue” would use “Mary-Sue.” After the file is created, use the Page Parameters to put the name back to “Mary Sue.”
  2. Profiles must be built somewhere in the Profiles section of the website in accordance with the main group that you work with, So if you were in the English Department, your profile might go in fairmount_college_of_liberal_arts_and_sciences/english/creative_writing/.
  3. Images don’t have to be the same size, but we highly recommend that they be 300px wide by 400px tall.
  4. Images should be placed in /profiles/images/ with a naming convention such as firstname.lastname-300×400.jpg. That is, use the first part of your email address and the image size. Images only need to be in that folder to keep things organized. Using your email address avoids naming collisions with other people. The dimensions are because you can have an optional high-resolution version of your image for media uses.
  5. The file needs to be a jpg.
  6. There are no restrictions on the file size, but the system upload limit for most users is 6Mb. We recommend editing your image with Photoshop and exporting it with the “Save For Web (Legacy)” feature, which will give you the smallest file size with the greatest resolution. (If you don’t already have Photoshop, Faculty and Staff can have ITS install it for free by contacting
  7. We recommend editing your image and having it ready to go before you start your profile. OU’s way of handling files can be confusing if you aren’t familiar with it (and, frankly, even if you are). Recall from training that there are two servers, a Staging server that we do our work in and a Production server that stores final work and gives the public the files.
    image upload dialog
    Note that uploading an image during Profile creation will default to putting this image on Production, not Staging, which means you don’t have to publish the image for it to show up, but also the image file will not show up in the /profiles/_images/ folder if you navigate there in OU, because it is by default showing you the Staging server. You can switch to the Production server to edit it if you need to, at which point it will also save a copy on Staging. Or just upload your profile image to /profiles/_images/ before you create the profile.
    1. If you add the image in the first step of creating the Profile, it will immediately put the image to the Production server and bypass the Staging server. That means that if you navigate to /profiles/images/ in the OU interface, the view will default to the Staging server and it will appear as though your image is not there. You have to switch your view to the Production server to see your image.
    2. If you manually upload your image to /profiles/images/ in the OU interface before creating your Profile, then it will be only on Staging unless you Publish it to Production.
    3. If at any point you edit the image on Production, it will make a copy on Staging.

Once you have created your profile, it will at a minimum have your name in the headline bar and your name in a black box to the left. That black box also contains any image that was used and all of the more-than 30 parameters. Initially, you’ll only have up to nine at play in this area, because that’s all the getting-started page allows.

All of the items in the black area on the left are controlled in the Page Parameters.

The Overview and other information pieces in the accordion on the right of the page are controlled with editable areas (green buttons) visible on the page.

An example Profile page with everything filled in.
An example Profile page with everything filled in.

The Profile Page — Parameters

Profile Properties screen
After checking out the page, going to Properties -> Parameters will let you edit or add information that goes on the left side of the Profile.

To add more optional information to this area, select Properties from the top menu (making sure that you have the page checked out and the lightbulb is yellow), and then in the Parameters you can dive in.

Most of these parameters are self-explanatory. Below we will discuss only the ones that may be a source of confusion.

Full Name

All of the name elements that one was asked to fill out when creating the profile are used to automatically generate a full name for the profile that will display as “Credentials Firstname Middlename Lastname Suffixes” … so one might have “Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.”

Because the full name is generated from the parts in a standardized way, it might not present exactly the way you want it to present. To manually override the default, just use the “Full Name” field to write your name any way you want, such as “Dr. M. King.”

The system will use this Full Name in all places except when a Profile Listing page is set to list people Last Name first, which would use something like “King, Dr. Rev. Martin Luther Jr.” (This will be covered more in the “Profile Listing Page” section below.)

Job Title

For your Job Title, put whatever is appropriate for the group that you are building your Profile in. If you are building your profile in “english/creative_writing,” then use (perhaps) “Instructor.” You may have multiple titles in multiple roles, and the system will allow the maintainers of other groups you are in to include your profile but override the title with whatever is appropriate for their group. (This will be covered more in the “Automatic Profile Group Snippet” section below.)

Department or School

“Department or School” and “Department or School 2” can be used any way you want, but you might want to focus on what is relevant to your main profile location. You might need to say that you are in “English” and “Music” … but probably most people will want to say that they are in a group and a subgroup, such as “Media Resources Center” and “Web Services.” Again, it’s all optional, so whatever you feel is appropriate is actually the correct answer.

Curriculum Vitae

This can be a link to a web site or a file where ever you want. But if you want to upload a CV, you can put it in /profiles/_cvs/ as a PDF. Please use a naming convention similar to the image with date instead of dimensions … firstname.lastname-YYYY-MM-DD.pdf. If you don’t want to date your resume for whatever reason, that’s fine, but at least use your name and avoid words like “new.” Resumes that are called “resume.pdf” will probably get deleted by someone else uploading the same file name later.

Link 1-6

These have been pre-filled with links to social media sites, but you can use them for any links. Just change the Link Text to what you need to describe the link and add your link on the link line. Do NOT use the link on the link text and the link — that is an accessibility problem. (You haven’t lived until you’ve waited for an audio web browser to read a link out loud.)

Profile Weight

This doesn’t have anything to do with the Profile page, but rather the weight of the Profile on some types of Profile Listing Page. Basically, leave this alone unless you have a specific need to use it. And if you do use it, raise up the weight as little as you can.

The higher this number, the more it “weighs” relative to the other profiles in a group on a Profile Listing Page. This can be used to put managers in the front of their departments and that sort of thing. It will affect the placement of the Profile on any Profile Listing Page that is displaying with “Group,” though, so it is possible to make Profile Listing Pages other than the intended one a little messy. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, but someone might have to adjust the weights of several profiles to get them to in the right order, so try not to set it any higher than necessary.

Page Layout

All of these sections can be turned on or off for you to not see them on your profile. Navigation is the same as all the other pages in the OU system — it turns on or off the “In This Section” bar. For the rest, these are editable areas that allow you to include whatever you want. The “Overview” section is an exposed, always showing area for whatever you want. The other 11 sections will collapse into an accordion that a user can open to view. If you simply leave a section blank, it will not show up on the published profile, so probably the only reason to hide them is so that you don’t distract yourself. Perhaps you know you don’t need and will never need “clinical experience,” so you could just turn it off here in the parameters and never see it again.

However, a feature of the Profile Listing pages is that they can display ANY of the information from the Profiles. So, for example, if the College of Health Professionals wanted a page that was just an alphabetical list of everyone with their Clinical Experience, they could create such a Profile Listing page. (More on how to do that below, of course.) But if you didn’t want your Clinical Experience on your Profile Page (for esthetics or whatever reason) but the department needed it for something, you could fill out the Clinical Experience section of your Profile and then use the Parameters to turn the Clinical Experience section off. When you publish your profile, it would not show up on your profile but it would show up on the Profile Listing pages.

Media Inquiries

This is to let Strategic Communications know if it’s OK to send members of the media or general public to you. Strat Comm will use profile information to determine who is experts in what, and when it is approached it will have the ability to quickly send media to experts. However, not every expert wants to talk to the media. But this DOES NOT keep your profile information private. It doesn’t add anything to your Profile page telling people not to call you. The Profile page is public. Don’t put anything on it that you don’t want the public to know, and Strat Comm can’t stop people from calling directly. This is literally only to tell Strategic Communications to not forward people to you.

Profile Listing Icon

Profile Listing Page

Profile Listing Pages are extremely configurable. Listings can display everyone alphabetically or divided into groups and display any piece of information from the Profiles.

At its core, a Profile Listing Page is just a Landing Page with a bunch of stuff added on to it.

Very broadly, a Profile Listing Page will scan a directory (and the folders below it) and gather all the profiles it finds. It can present the profiles in multiple ways. There are options, and we’ll get into below in order that you will encounter them.

Unlike Profile Pages, Profile Listing Pages can go anywhere in the site, but every folder in the /profiles/ directories will have an index that is a Profile Listing Page. If your group wants to link to one of those Profile Listing Pages from your group, that’s fine. You can also create your own page in your own branch of the web site and simply point it to your section of the /profiles/ directory to gather profiles. Or you can manually add profiles to a Profile Listing Page. Do whatever works best for you.

Getting Started with a new Profile Listing Page

When you create a new Profile Listing Page, it will ask you for a Title and a File Name, just like making a landing page. That’s all you really need. It saves the rest for later. Typically you will want to call the page “index” unless the folder you’re putting it in already has an index, in which case any file name you want is fine.

If you create a Profile Listing Page and publish it without changing anything, the default behavior will be to display all the profiles it finds in its own directory and then group all the profiles it finds in the directories below by their directory titles.

Profile Listing Page — Parameters

There are 10 Parameters with 50 options, which means that there can be a lot to go over here, too. And a lot of this is more dramatic than “don’t fill this in and it won’t show up.” Because of the complexity and the way the system interacts with the profiles, the Profile Listing will not properly display on Staging. It will display on Production, however, and any changes that are made to Profile Pages will appear on the Profile Listing Pages as soon as the Profile is published — with no need to republish the Listing Pages. And added Profiles will appear automatically if the Profile Listing page is using an automatic style.

  1. Target

    The first new Parameter that you will see on Properties -> Parameters is “Target.” If you leave this blank, the page will target — scan for — Profiles in the section that it is in. If you’re building one in /profiles/[path/to/your/department], then you almost certainly want this to be blank. But if you’re building a Profile Listing Page somewhere else on the site, then you’ll probably want to tell it where to start grabbing Profiles (if you want it to automatically find the Profiles).

  2. Waterfall

    This tells the page to grab the Profiles in the sections below the Target section. If it is set to “No,” it simply gets the profiles in the Target directory.

  3. Display Type

    Either as a list or in a display format.

    1. The list option will try to flatten out the text supplied by the profiles and present the images (if turned on) as a thumbnail. If it is truly a lot of profiles, it is recommended that you turn images off because the files used are (currently) the full-sized images and not true thumbnails, so a big listing could get huge and have performance problems.
    2. Display format will put the profiles on a four-across grid and present all the parts of the profiles that are selected.
  4. Page Sort

    1. Group: By default, the page will sort by group then alphabetize inside the group. As stated above (in New Profile Section), the system will use the section names to generate the names for the groups. It will start with the section it is in and then, if Waterfall is set to Yes, walk the sections below (in alphabetical order) to get all of the profiles in those sections. If the Profiles in the group are weighted, the Profiles with the highest weights will come first, then be sorted alphabetically in the group.
    2. Alphabetical: You might want to just have a top-level directory that is just a straightforward alphabetical listing. In which case, setting this to “Alphabetical” will disregard the groups and just lump them all together. Typically this would be combined with the List style Display Type, but it doesn’t have to be. This sort method will ignore Profile weights.
    3. Manual Sort: This ignores the Target setting, ignores profile weights, and exposes a new page editable area. The editable area has an Automatic Profile Groups Snippet built into it, and you can add more. But you’re on your own to add whichever profiles you want. So in the /profiles/[path/to/your/department] portion of the site, you probably wouldn’t want to do this. But if you’re doing a completely ad hoc group of profiles from all over, this is the perfect setting. For more on this, see the Automatic Profile Groups Snippet section below.
  5. Name Display

    This determines how to display the Profile names. “Full Name” displays their Profile Full Name (either automatically created or manually edited), while Lastname First displays only the automatically generated name as discussed above. (The Profile Page — Parameters: Full Name.)

  6. Section Display Options

    This is where one determines which information is pulled from the Profiles. For each property, if the Profile has that information in it, it will be displayed (and probably labeled). If the information isn’t there, it will just not show up (and there won’t be a label for a blank property). If images are turned on but the profile doesn’t have an image, a standard placeholder will be used instead.

  7. HTML or Plain text

    By default all the parameters are set to display as html. However, its possible that some people might use some distracting html in their Profile in a way that doesn’t work for your Profile Listing Page. You can disable HTML output to get just the text of what they wrote … though it does the same thing for all the Profiles on the page. If you have one Profile that is just weird, it might be worth it to have that person fix their Profile, but this will allow you to homogenize the output if you need to.

Profile Listing Pages — Editable Areas

As stated above, the Profile Listing Pages are basically the same as Landing Pages and have all those sections and features. In addition to Teaser and Main Content sections, they have Add Extra Profiles and Edit Manual Sort. Which one appears is determined by the Parameter -> Page Sort. If Manual Sort, then the Edit Manual Sort area appears. Otherwise, Add Extra Profiles appears.

  1. Extra Profiles lets you add links to other Profiles that you need to add to an otherwise automatic group. For example, there might be a staff person who created a Profile with their day job, but also does a little adjunct teaching for Creative Writing. Instead of creating two profiles and trying to manage them both, just add this person to the Extra Profiles list. The Profile will show up in waterfalls from above and behave for the most part like it’s in the Creative Writing department. (Links to the Profile will go to the actual Profile location.)What shows up is determined by the page settings — sort, display type, name display, etc.Add new rows for more than four Profiles.It doesn’t matter what you call the links as you put them in, but it is recommended that you use their name so that you can stay organized.
  2. The Manual Sort area is really just a place to put the Automatic Profile Groups Snippets, so see that for more information. The main advantage of using this Snippet on a Profile Listing Page is that it allows you great control over how it displays — it follows the display settings above. If you put it on a regular page, it will only display some standard things in some standard ways — which might be fine. Manual Sort pages will not waterfall, but you can add multiple Snippets to create multiple groups on a page.

Profile Group Snippet thumbnail

Automatic Profile Groups Snippet

The Automatic Profile Groups Snippet allows one to put together an ad hoc group of profiles by simply linking to them on a table.

The first column is the link to a Profile, and should probably be something legible that you can understand later, like the subject’s name. However, this text won’t be used in final output.

The next three columns are all optional.

Custom Title overrides the default Profile title. So if someone is “Director of Milk Deliveries” for their day job but “Chairman” of the group you are creating, then the Custom Title override will let you indicate that.

The Custom Text Header and Custom Text columns are for you to add a section to the Profiles — probably something that’s only relevant to this group. You can give each Profile an individual Custom Text Header (“About Carol”, perhaps) or give them all the same header (“Senate Duties”), whichever works for you. The header and the text will only display on this page and will not be spread to the Profile.

You can add as many people as you’d like by adding extra rows to the Snippet.

You can put multiple Snippets to create multiple groups.

When the Automatic Profile Groups Snippet is placed on a Profile Listing Page, the page can control which features of the Profiles show up.

If the Automatic Profile Groups Snippet is placed on any other type of page, the Profiles will behave as though the options are Display, Group, Full and it will show the Name, Title (or Custom Title), email and phone number — and optionally any custom header or text. The Custom Header will simply be bold text and a colon that leads into the Custom text.

If this Snippet is placed on a page with a sidebar turned on, it will display in three columns instead of the standard four column layout.

Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as a table transformation
Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as a table transformation
Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as a staging preview
Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as a production preview
Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as seen in final production
Automatic Profile Groups Snippet as seen in final production