The University of St. Thomas homepage has had a facelift. For the first time since July 2, 2007, the look of our home on the web has been refreshed.
The content that users have come to know over the last eight years continues to be available, along with a few new additions including real-time feature stories from the Newsroom and a live Twitter stream from the university’s primary institutional Twitter account.
Beyond its basic appearance, the most notable change for on-campus users is the disappearance of the “drawer” that used to drop down from the top of the page. Quick access to such tools as email, Murphy Online and Blackboard are now available in a similar location under “Quick Links.”
The homepage is being moved to an updated template in preparation for the new branding initiative as part of the Enhanced Visibility and Profile priority of the university’s strategic plan. Consolidating the website’s templates, navigation and pages will help facilitate future design changes recommended by our branding partner, MindPower.
In addition, the homepage is being updated to conform to recent changes from Google. Sites that are not mobile friendly, such as the current St. Thomas homepage, are now being demoted in Google search results. The vast majority of visitors to www.stthomas.edu come from Google searches, particularly off-campus users and prospective students and families.
Over the last year, IRT Web Services staff have launched or migrated many sites to the newest template, which addresses these important issues. The new template is called Castor. Sites already migrated into Castor include Undergraduate Admissions, School of Law, School of Social Work, College of Arts and Sciences, as well as many others.
Some guiding principles used to redesign the homepage:
- Improve mobile experience by making the homepage mobile friendly and responsive.
- Retain the same content and site structure.
- Move from many layout templates (10+ as of the beginning of 2015) to many content options but within the same template.
- Improve usability and accessibility.
- Improve search engine optimization and search results.
- Implement progressive enhancement – more frequent, but smaller changes.
For questions about the new look of our home on the Web, contact IRT TechDesk, (651) 962-6230.