For faculty and students, a beginning-of-the-year checklist runs the gamut from purchasing books to finalizing class schedules. College departments and offices have lists, too.
Near the top of the list for the Office of College Communications is the launch of a new look for the Metro State website in September.
The website’s new appearance, vetted through the Communications Advisory Council, President’s Cabinet and the College’s Web Authors Group, is one of only six designs since the College established itself on the Web in 1996.
Interim Senior Marketing Director Keo Frazier says, “We are taking advantage of technology to accurately reflect who we are in a design that showcases Metro State—online—as the excellent, engaging and innovative institution that we are.”
Frazier notes that while the appearance of the website will change, the information architecture, or structure of the website, will not. “You’ll still be able to click on the same links and get to the same pages.”
She says the new look, based on directional data gleaned from focus group feedback on earlier projects, will:
- Engage the user
- Appeal to the College’s target audience
- Simplify the navigation
- Help to tell the Metro State story
To bring faculty, staff and students into the excitement of launching a new look, the office has kicked off a “Website Makeover Contest” where participants are asked to guess the years of previous designs, and then post their answers on Facebook. Those who do will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize, a video camera. The contest runs today through Sept. 6.
Web Content Management System (WCMS) Update
The website makeover is coming to fruition at a pivotal stage in the implementation of the College’s Web Content Management System (WCMS) initiative, announced in October 2010.
“It’s great timing,” says Director of Web Communications Chris Mancuso, whose team is working with the Educational Technology Center (ETC) to migrate nearly 10,000 pages from academic and administrative sites into the new system by September 2012. College Communications will work with administrative departments on their websites, while ETC will work with academic departments on theirs.
“Under the Rightsizing with Technology initiative (which ended June 30), we were able to set in place new hardware and software allowing us to move forward with new features and functionality,” he says. “The new content management software called Site Manager will allow departments to edit and manage their own websites in a much simpler way, and using any Web browser.”
Features of Site Manager include a new events calendar, RSS feeds, search-engine marketing capabilities, social media sharing and easy-to-use templates for nontechnical users.
Michael Erskine, the ETC’s senior web developer and project manager, says “The ETC has worked with nearly every academic department in various capacities to help them create and maintain an effective Web presence, and will continue to do so with the new toolset,” he says.
Once Site Manager “is made available to academic departments, we plan to work closely with each department that chooses to migrate, to ensure a successful transition and a thoughtful deployment of the new tools available to them,” Erskine adds. “While there may be some challenges, overall, academic departments will find numerous benefits when moving to Site Manager, such as approval workflows and more efficient account management.”
Visit the WCMS initiative website for more information.
To learn more about the new look for the website, contact Frazier at email@example.com.
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