Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Home page design finalized, Prototype unveiled.
The process has been a thorough and intensive one with feedback from many campus constituents, as well as focus groups with target audiences, including current students, faculty and staff, prospective students and alumni. Over the past two weeks, the committee presented the new designs to several campus-wide groups including the Executive Officers, Deans Council, Student Government’s Chancellor’s Liaison group, Technician staff and the Campus Communicators group.
When reviewing the approved home page design, keep in mind that the final look incorporates the consistent and clear feedback we received from all parties: combine the “Action” and “Your Story” concepts, but let the individual stories communicate the key accomplishments and messages of the university in a real and visually dynamic way.
From a content perspective, the home page creates a compelling voice for the university. According to the input we received, one of the most exciting parts of the Your Story concept was the ability to participate in a community and contribute content that would appear on the university home page. The final design reflects this approach with the ability to contribute content.
The following details describe the page elements as referenced in the corresponding image.
1. Utility Navigation:
Other feedback the committee received was to create a home page that was easy-to-use and navigate. In the utility navigation of the page, Directories has been replaced with a more intuitive and direct, Find People link. The university has been branded by its full name for search engine optimization and to identify it to international visitors and those who many not identify or search for the university by the state abbreviation. The calendar link will go to the main university calendar and an additional link will take users to the NC State portal.
A frequent request that the committee could not have agreed with more was the suggestion for a QuickLinks toolbar. We’ve populated it with what we feel are some often visited pages within the university; but you’ll have the option to customize your own QuickLinks. We would like input from the community on what sites should be standard default items in the QuickLinks. A search option that searches from the home page eliminates the extra click that the current search presents.
3. Main Feature Area:
The page’s main content is positioned around seven themes or brand messages relevant to current and prospective students, faculty/staff, alumni, parents and general visitors. Each theme is supported by images and video. Users can view additional stories within each theme and even submit information — whether it’s content, videos, images, or ideas — by selecting the share your story link. The images and video will change frequently and more so as the campus community becomes an active participant. There is no shortage of stories at NC State and the web committee is eager to receive everyone’s content.
4. Main Navigation:
Additional refinements include the straightforward navigation on the left-hand side of the page. Based on who you are, the points of entry to dig deeper into the site are clear and precise. The committee also made a point to avoid redundant categories and content on the page, so you won’t see any of the links on the left-hand navigation repeated elsewhere on the page.
5. Bottom of Page Elements:
The redesign also offers the opportunity to toggle between current news and events (Item 5), apply to the university, and experience a virtual tour of campus through rotating, engaging photography (Item 8). The lower half of the page will also feature a news story that links to the university’s main news item of the day (Item 6). The area occupied by Item 7 is flexible and interchangeable; in the focus groups, the university-related facts and figures were extremely popular.
6. Footer Navigation:
The footer navigation (Item 9) reflects the most static part of the new site but includes important information such as university policies and procedures, emergency information, job opportunities and contact information.
The committee will unveil the sub-tier, secondary pages in the next few weeks.
Please review the new NC State University home page and share your thoughts and feedback in the comments area.