University prepares for major redesign of its flagship website

A member of Acsys Interactive performs usability testing with high school junior and prospective student Meghan Hersketh on Feb. 22 in Echlin Center. (Photo by Jamie DeLoma, assistant director of public relations and social media.)

The university is preparing to transform its flagship, external website,, into a new, more interactive and dynamic website.

The site, which will continue to be geared toward prospective students, will feature larger photographs, embedded video and integrate social media, enabling current feeds to flow into the site as well as allow users to share content across various networks. The site will also include additional profiles and more interactive content to help visitors find what they are looking for faster and with fewer clicks. One of the most powerful additions to the site will be a larger drop-down menu that will enable visitors to access the vast majority of content on the site in a single click.

Each school will also have a unique look and landing page, similar to the School of Law’s current structure.

The existing 3,500-page site, which was last redesigned in 2006, will also help showcase the university’s rise to national prominence by focusing on interdisciplinary learning and highlighting facilities across the three campuses.

“It’s an exciting project,” said Mark Ludovico, director of Web communications. “However, a project of this size takes a lot of coordination and contributions by many people across the university.”

The university is working with Acsys Interactive, a consulting firm in Farmington, to design the site.

Currently, members of the Office of Public Affairs and Department of Administrative Systems are finalizing new designs and preparing to begin the process of transitioning the content from the current site — which receives as many as 1 million monthly page views depending on the time of year — onto the new one as well as building new digital content and infrastructure.

“It’s a very large undertaking,” said Doug Geiste, director of Web technologies. “There’s a lot of new technology and programming going into this site that we have to become familiar with.”

The process for the redesign began in November 2010 when members of the redesign team first presented plans to the Web Executive Committee. After a bidding and design process, work on the new site got underway in May 2011.

To ensure a smooth launch by the end of the calendar year, the redesign team is preparing and assembling coding, content, databases and servers while also ensuring that the information will be optimized for search engines and accessible to visitors with disabilities.

A new mobile site is also part of the project.

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