Web Wednesday: Here's a WebSPACE project update

Web Wednesday: Here's a WebSPACE project update

From Information Resources and Technologies

UST’s WebSPACE project continues redesigning the university’s Web presence. We are on our way to reaching our goal of usable, findable, professionally designed Web sites that exemplify the characteristics that make up UST.

Typically we are working with the community on 25 to 30 redesign projects simultaneously and are publishing new sites every few weeks. Redesign projects continue to be chosen with the following priorities: academic sites, with sites that provide admissions support at the top of the list, moving to student-service sites followed by administrative sites. Some sites have moved up in the list due to technical issues or other constraints.

Web sites that have recently been published include:

  • Graduate programs and centers: School of Engineering, Graduate School of Professional Psychology,  English, Holloran Center
  • Academic service: Study Abroad, Aquinas Scholars, Copyright at UST
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Economics, Theology, Physics, Geography, Journalism, Geology, Chemistry, Philosophy
  • Administrative: Gainey Conference Center, Card Office

We have many projects in various stages of completion. In partnership with our clients we will be publishing the following sites over the next few months:

  • Graduate programs: Law, Music Education, Graduate Programs in Software
  • Academic service: Athletics enhancements, Service Learning
  • College of Arts and Sciences: Music, Mathematics, Justice and Peace Studies
  • Administrative: Payroll, Commencement

New home page

Building and designing for the Web is a process of constant change and we have a number of unanticipated projects that come our way. One of the most notable is the UST Home page. Due to an increased need for marketing space, in close partnership with University Relations, we have begun efforts to redesign the UST home page. In addition, to solve some essential navigational and usability issues, we have included the top-level pages in this redesign, which we call the “Core Design.” The process, which began in January, has proceeded in the following way:

Data collection and research: Our analysis phase started with an assessment of our current home page to help to identify its strengths and weaknesses. We held stakeholder interviews to help define strategic goals and the sentiment the home page should convey. We also held student focus groups and conducted an extensive competitive analysis.

Conception and visual design: Based on the analysis, conclusions were made and the information architecture was formed. Information types, category headings and descriptions were woven into an information design, navigational structure and creative concept. Three visual designs were drawn from the creative concept and prototypes were formed. University Relations and Web and Media Services representatives held a number of sessions and selected one design from the three.  

Feedback next: The final design is now being tested with users to validate the information structure and effectiveness of the terminology, hierarchy, and content organization. We will soon begin a series of feedback sessions with stakeholders, administration and the community. Information and design changes will be made based on the feedback.

Production, usability and implementation: After signoff we will develop the design and complete extensive usability testing with a representative user sample. We plan to ‘go live’ with the new design in early July.

Much more will be communicated about the home page redesign project and IRT looks forward to working with others on the continual evolution of UST’s Web environment; together we can reach the WebSPACE project’s goal of creating a first-class communication channel.

To learn more, visit the IRT Web site or contact the IRT Tech Desk, (651) 962-6230 or IRTHelp@stthomas.edu.