Obviously, our No. 1 concern was having the web available at all times. Beyond that, we’ve focused on improved user experience, compliance with legal requirements, and better adherence to best practices. All of this translates into better navigation, cleaner interfaces, more focus on photography and storytelling, well crafted content, and smart use/reuse of the information we generate daily. We’re working toward a create once, publish everywhere (COPE) model.
- What you need to know about the new campus directory
- Majors, Minors, and Programs: moving beyond the baseline
The new site has been launched on a WordPress-dedicated hosting provider capable of handling the extraordinary pressure we put on umw.edu. We’re focused on a more sustainable, governed site-development process as we continue to move toward a completely rebuilt site.
Navigation on www.umw.edu was often found to be unintuitive. User feedback in tests included words like “cumbersome” and “complicated” and “impossible.” Enormous care was put into evaluating, testing, and restructuring navigation on the homepage and beyond. Additionally, new target audience homepages (prospective students, students, faculty & staff, parents) now focus on their specific audience.
We’ve rebuilt www.umw.edu and admissions.umw.edu, with a few changes still to come. You now have entirely new (mobile friendly) sites for students, faculty & staff, parents, events, admissions, academic degrees & programs, campus directory, visitors, Great Minds, and more. There’s a new system-wide web calendaring tool, a completely new way to pull directory information into department sites, much more information about campuses and buildings (including easy-access maps), more robust employee profiles in the campus directory, integration with external tools such as Hobson’s and ExpertFile, and so much more!
What hasn’t changed?
What has seen very little, if any, change with the launch are the other subdomains: academics.umw.edu, adminfinance.umw.edu, students.umw.edu, president.umw.edu, etc. You will hear more in the coming months about migration plans for those and other areas of the site.
With Phase 1 launched we’re going to take a step back and smooth out any rough edges. We’ll depend on and thoroughly review all user feedback. We’ll monitor analytics and Siteimprove reports, and work on offering comprehensive on-demand site administrator training. We’ll also work with IT, Financial Aid, and Residence Life to rework and rebuild their sites in fall 2015. We plan to start working with academic and other areas spring 2016.
Have feedback on the new site? Share it with us!
Before & After
Select an image to open a slideshow of before and after screen captures.