Website aims to attract prospective students

Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

The new website, which was unveiled on Jan. 30, is intended to clearly and concisely show the services available to prospective students through new imagery and “optimized wording,” or highlights of certain aspects of a section with links to more information,
according to Jian Chan, web administrator for the office of integrated communications and marketing.

“Historically, the university’s website changes after a period of – you know around five to six years every time,” said Chan, “so it was – we knew it was coming.”

The initial idea to revitalize the website was discussed two years before the launch, said Chan.

In order to revamp the website it takes a gradual, “migration process” into the new system, he said. This time around, the approach was much different.

“This is one of many launches,” said Chan. “This is our first big push to get our prospective student content out there, but we’re doing lots of mini launches behind the scenes to move content over.”

With the use of a home page – which every section will eventually have – Chan said he wanted prospective students to feel as though they were on a guided tour.

“The images are meant to align with our brand as well,” said Chan.

Benjamin Yambao, a senior, social work major, said if he were applying all over again the new site would be, “more welcoming.”

“It’s a lot more vibrant,” said Yambao. “A lot more clean. A lot more – the interface is a lot more user friendly.”

Personally, he said he likes that both the old and new website are available and it would be a shame if the old website was discarded.

The biggest issue as a result of the revamping was the search bar, said Chan.

“We’re now falling back to a Google search,” said Chan, “that will allow us to include results from both the old and new site.”

Chan said the new search engine will take time to “learn itself,” as there are at least 5,000 pages on the old site and nearly 1,000 more on the new site that it will have to cycle through.

Jessica Komacki, a freshman, communication disorders major and student  worker at the information desk in the Adanti Student Center said an issue that arose for her was in the directory tab.

“On the old website there’s a part that goes directory and you can just like type in a person’s name or department,” said Komacki, “and their phone number, fax number, location, everything comes up and on the new website they don’t have that.”

Komacki said the directory on the new website will simply link the person’s name to their department that usually only showed their phone number or email.

Both issues, the search bar, and directory have since been fixed.

At this week’s Student Government Association meeting, representative Sarah Gossman said the new website has good ideas, but “poor execution.”

Chan said additional difference in the new site is the fact all of the pages will be new when the site is uploaded in its entirety.

“That is something that has never been done before,” said Chan. “We [have] 700 new pages built out across the board, in all various capacities. You might not see it all at once, but they’re there.”

The overall goal for the launch is to separate content for prospective students, current students, and faculty and staff, Chan said.

The Inside Southern tab on the homepage is meant specifically for current students, faculty and staff, Chan said.

“From there, for the next few months, we’re going to be expanding that area,” said Chan, “so that when students and faculty, especially students –when they land on that, they’re really only going to find information that’s relevant to them.”

Photo Credit: August Pelliccio

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