A redesigned university website, huntington.edu, will launch in late October. The site features the university’s new graphic identity and implements mobile accessibility to its visitors.
“Every few years, we evaluate the website, and we make changes to it,” Heather Barkley, director of communications, said. “As an overall strategy, we recognized that there are new trends, new technologies and new features that we want to implement into the website because we want to stay current, stay relevant and stay competitive with other institutions.”
While the project has been discussed for about a year, the team began working on the site over the summer. The new website will give internal and external audiences an easy-to-use image, an improved experience for tablet and mobile phone users and a more responsive management system.
“Students want mobile accessibility” Barkley said. “Students want to see more real pictures in their campus life.”
Gathering various opinions from student groups, faculty groups and staff groups, more student voices will also be shown on the new website. Students can take a video with their mobile devices, send it to the public relations department, and it could be published on the website.
“It can be testimonials, student blogs or even just videos of students’ sharing, ” Barkley said. “There will be less alumni profiles. We are not going to overly produce videos either.”
The platform that the university has been using in the past is called Ektron. With the new web design, however, the university switched to Expression Engine, which allows more social media integration within the system.
“Our current website was a major step forward for us as we took the leap into a [Content Management System], and we anticipate this new website to be just as big of a leap, if not bigger,” Jason Boothman, programmer of information and technology services, said.
One distinct feature from the new home page – the “get connected” feature – will have YouTube videos, Instagram photos and tweets from the university’s accounts.
“We are working on developing the website to make it more responsive, which displays data in a way that interacts with the size of your browser or mobile devices, ” Boothman said. “We are really trying to do some stuff that you never really see on a college website before.”
The university also hired Reusser Design, an external company run by alumnus Nate Reusser (‘04) to help with the project.
“We are very excited to be working with him on this project,” Boothman said. “His passion matches ours in wanting to see the website be a strong marketing tool for the university.”
The university last updated the website in 2011.