Last week, we received the completed design programmed in our new CMS, and webmaster Thane Webb is evaluating the new design and our system. We are about five weeks away from the launch of the new design, and last week had a productive update meeting with about 45 web content editors from across campus who heard and saw more specifics on the new design.
The new pages are part of a primary goal for our web redevelopment project – the development of “landing” or “portal” pages that are essentially sub-home pages for our website users.
When we evaluated our current unk.edu, we understand that site users find information they are looking for, for the most part, but are not navigating our site in a consistent way. Much of the behaviors our site visitors are showing on our site indicate the content (photos, stories and other media) are not keeping their interest. The committee examined our site and compared it to others and determined that logical destination points for audiences are lacking. Further, the setup of our site has historically been arranged around organizational charts, departments or units, forcing the site visitor to know how we organize ourselves in order to find things on our site.
A new philosophy relates to “user-first” organization, or focusing on the user experience and organizing website content around the user or specific audience member, instead of around the organizational structure.
This is an important concept to think about as we move to the new design and some new organizational elements. You may notice that the prospective student and current student are, indeed, the priority audience, and our pages are being organized and content created to attract and keep the attention of, and serve the needs of, prospective and current students. This is extremely important for our recruitment and retention.
The new landing pages will serve the function of pulling our primary audiences in to sub-sites on unk.edu that keep them interested and focused on the information they need. They also help our primary units – the colleges – better tell their story.
Our content team has worked with the design team to develop the new landing pages – think of them as mini home pages – that serve specific story-telling and information-presentation functions. The new landing pages are:
- About (everything about UNK and community)
- Students (everything students would want to connect with related to student life and resources)
- 1 for each college (each college currently has its own page on unk.edu but these new college pages are improved, more attractive, portals to the majors and departments)
- Faculty and staff (everything a current or prospective faculty/staff would want to connect with)
- Athletics (the lopers.com realm continues to exist, and this page focuses on the student-athlete and pulls visitors into lopers.com links)
- Academics (a portal to everything academic)
- Graduate studies (links to and stories about graduate studies and research)
- International education (a stopping point for international recruitment and study-abroad opportunities)
- Alumni and development (a portal to connections to our alumni association and foundation
- Wellness and recreation (conveying stories about the new Wellness Center and recreation important for student recruitment and retention)
- Most importantly: Admissions. The improved admissions landing page attracts and hopefully keeps prospective students engaged and interested in further exploring UNK.
The addition of the new landing pages is an important element in improving the overall look of our entire website, and gives many, many more opportunities to link to individual programs and site information from numerous other entry points. Even more importantly, the new pages give more opportunities for site visitors to interact with the stories of UNK through photos, stories, compilations of programs.
Take a look at the designs for these landing pages that are nearly ready to hand over to the web production team and we think you’ll get excited about all of the new ways our audiences will be able to discover the UNK difference.
– KELLY BARTLING
Assistant Vice Chancellor for Communications & Community Relations