Web Wednesday: UST WebSPACE Web site redesign project update
From Information Resources and Technologies
UST’s WebSPACE project continues reaching its aggressive milestones. Approximately 45 percent of our Web environment has been redesigned and is managed by the Collage Content Management System. We invite you to tour the design changes of the UST Web and see the results of our community's hard work.
The redesign effort began in June 2004. We typically are working on five to 10 projects simultaneously and are publishing new sites every few weeks. Redesign projects have been planned in phases. Academic sites were first, with sites that provide admissions support at the top of the list, moving to student-service sites followed by administrative sites. While a Web environment is never considered finished, we have an estimated project completion date of June 2007.
Web sites that recently have been published include: Registrar; Aquinas Scholars; Social Work; Information Resources and Technologies, including the Libraries site; Institutional Research and Analysis; Undergraduate Catalog; Student Clubs and Organizations; and a number of behind-the-scenes content pieces, forms and tools.
We have many projects in various stages of completion. In partnership with our clients we will publish the following sites over the next several months:
- Graduate programs – Law, Engineering, Professional Psychology, English, Music, Graduate Programs in Software
- Student service sites – Athletics, Study Abroad
- College of Arts and Sciences departments and programs – Chemistry, Geology, Journalism and Physics
- Administrative sites – Payroll, Bulletin Today, and Finance and Administration
If you have gone through the process of Web site redesign, you know it can be time-consuming, yet rewarding work. "It’s very rewarding to hear so many favorable comments about our Web design," says Jessica Mustful, from the School of Education, "especially from prospective students." One applicant recently wrote, "... the Web site was so easy to navigate and information was so easy to find." Patsy Maloney from Student Affairs also is grateful that they can publish content on their own.
Having recently redesigned the main IRT and UST Libraries Web sites, we have seen firsthand the benefits from the effort. Feedback on the main IRT Web site says that our services are more visible; our clients can both find help on their own and easily locate additional help and information about our services. The UST libraries took the opportunity to delete dated and redundant pages and discovered gaps in missing information. The site has been streamlined, is user friendly and they are receiving thanks from students and faculty who rely on these important resources. Both sites have benefited from distributing Web publishing to the people who know the information best.
The WebSPACE project does more than just giving UST sites a face lift. We are upgrading many of our applications (interactive forms, the ability to apply for admissions, record service hours) to a more robust, scalable and portable environment.
We also are working to make sure that our Web pages are usable and easier to find. Over the summer we added analytics capability with WebTrends, which will give us better statistics and a deeper understanding of how our constituents are using the site. In addition, we have been learning from usability testing and we have improved our search capabilities with the addition of our own Google search appliance. Look for more about this appliance in upcoming articles.
IRT looks forward to working with departments 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.