Redesigned website may be unveiled in spring
Hunter Lyle – Sports Writer
In order to improve efficiency, opportunity, and overall user satisfaction, the members of the Information Technology team are creating a brand-new school website.
“We started talking about the concept of completely rebuilding the website from scratch a couple of years ago,” said Director of Academic Technology Trever Brolliar. “We knew we wanted to start from scratch and not migrate anything at all.”
Brolliar said hopefully, the website is going to be unrolled during the spring semester.
“Everybody has a device in their hands, and if you can serve up your content to them, in an individual basis it’s pretty powerful,” he said.
After completing surveys and reviewing the statistics, there were some things that needed to be changed in the new website, said Brolliar, including making it more mobile friendly.
“[Besides the mobile improvement we are] also providing our homepage with a fresh, newer look,” said Director of IT Strategic Initiatives and Special Reports Amanda Mojica.
Another major factor that needed to be changed was the navigation of the website, said Mojica. The department found several users had problems with this, as well, she said.
“I think there’s definitely things to be improved,” said Vice President of the Student Government Association Mia Forgione. “I know I, like most students, just go right to the search bar and look for everything there because I don’t really want to navigate through it all.”
The platform used to create the website, Drupal 8, allows for information to be inserted and called back at any time, said Brolliar. This process should eliminate the struggle of searching through old, possibly outdated, web pages.
“Right now, if we changed a phone number, you would have to go through the whole site and look at every single page that has the phone number on it to make sure the number has changed,” said Brolliar. “This in the future will allow a much easier administration.”
The old website also did not allow for customization, said Mojica, it was more of a “cookie- cutter” ordeal.
“With our current website, which runs on our CMS [Content Management System], it’s more narrowly defined, some of the things we can do in there,” said Mojica, “whereas, with Drupal, being open sourced allows us to do a little more and achieve more.”
Brolliar said with this platform the university, at any time, can change, alter, or adjust it.
“I think traditionally here at Southern, and in many institutions in general, when you are in higher education, you look for products that are for higher education,” said Mojica. “We looked outside of that. We looked at any and all products that still suite our needs, because we shouldn’t be defined because we are in higher education.”
When first deliberating about the new website, the IT team reviewed other websites to understand what worked and how to design it, said Mojica.
“We looked at a lot of different pages,” said Mojica. “We kind of Frankensteined a lot of different elements from different pages.”