The University launched the new website in late August. Students have had mixed reactions regarding the layout and accessibility. Members of The Outlook love the layout of the website and think it has modernized the way people look at the University’s technology. The major downside that The Outlook sees with the website is accessibility.
One issue The Outlook saw was that for current students, finding common resources such as WebStudent and eCampus are very difficult. One Outlook editor said that it appeared the University tried to do too many things at once and it can be overwhelming. The Outlook staff agrees that the website will be effective in bringing in prospective students but may end up frustrating current students.
Some Outlook staff members do point out that there will be a learning curve for everyone and are sure that the campus will adjust to them in short order. Students just need to acclimate and soon enough, it will be as simple to navigate as the old site.
One staff member does ask, “Why the sudden change?” Another editor points out that the website has a great visual appeal and could help attract more students to the University.
While there are simple tabs at the bottom, especially for current students, even under that tab it is difficult to find some of the most used programs such as eCampus.
Some staff members point out that they just directly type it into the web search bar to avoid the hassle. Some links such as WebStudent, can be found in multiple places but do not lead directly to the program; instead they merely lead to instructions or an explanation of the program.
One major issue The Outlook is glad to see addressed is the search bar for the website. With the old website, finding anything through the search bar was a lost cause, but now it is much more efficient.
The outdated appearance which made it appear the University had not advanced in regards to technology.
The Outlook feels that the new website offers many advantages. It will help attract prospective students; the layout is very appealing to the eye and shows how far technology has advanced in the University. The use of colors aside from the traditional navy blue and silver allow the site to pop more. Having the calendar of upcoming events right on the home page makes finding things to do on campus very simple.
The use of video by some departments to highlight themselves brings the site to life and allows prospective students to build a connection and understanding of how current students feel about their time at the University.
However, we do see some issues that need to be addressed in particular, accessibility. Part of this, The Outlook acknowledges, is not being familiar with the new website but the frustration the website causes while looking for simple but necessary programs is not benefitting anyone.
As students, we would just like the website to be easy to use while showing off some of the best assets of the University. Since the change happened right before the school year, there was a very little adjustment period for students without very much instruction on how to find regularly used programs.
The staff looks forward to learning the new website and being able to fully utilize it. While there are kinks to the system, it is a step in the right direction.