By Chris Shaddock
In this new fall semester, the DeSales website was given a fresh update. The new website was constructed to give students, faculty and prospective students a simpler time navigating through the website.
“Our last change was in 2012,” said Director of Web Communications, Kristen Laudenslager. “The number one goal of the website is to help recruit students. The students that we were trying to recruit right now were ten when the site was built, so it has been a long time for a website.”
The site was designed to be more engaging than the previous format and for users to be able to find everything they want quickly. It a lot more active with videos of events in view, featured articles about campus activities and dates displaying upcoming events. The site in general is more palatable with colorful and lively coding designs.
Pages were also less reliant on text for the sake of having information seem more approachable. Additionally, they dropped the number of webpages from around 1,200 to around 700 for the sake of making the site more concise with its information. Every page was also completely rewritten.
Some new additions to the site are that a comprehensive overview was installed on the left of the website, which allows for users to see everything neatly featured on the website all at once. Content is also now related. Articles within the site are now tagged with the people and organizations that are relevant to the article, allowing users to find other articles easily.
The site was also designed mobile first. It scales to a mobile device’s screen and the navigation is designed to appeal for people of all ages.
The firm SAI (System Alliance Incorporated) Digital was hired to design the site. They used feedback from student and faculty focus groups, as well as additional information from their former works to plan out a design that would function the best.
“One of the things that was interesting that came out from the focus groups is that a lot of people do not know the difference between MyDSU and the regular DeSales website,” said Laudenslager. “With this new site, we tried to put the resources right up front. At the bottom of the website there are links directly to Blackboard, to Engage and to a lot of different internal sites. I am hoping that is helpful to everyone.”
Interestingly, the most searched thing on the old website was for MyDSU, despite the giant MyDSU button right next to the search bar.
Since the website has come out, DeSales has been focused on making sure the site is running smoothly. They have been evaluating responses from its users, as well as asking users to notify them when they find an issue with the site.
“So far responses have been mostly positive,” said Laudensalger. “I would have to say, I am very happy. Getting it rolled out was a pretty big task. I know a lot of people were nervous, but it came together quite nicely in the end and I think most people are happy. It really has been such a long time and it was such a needed thing.”