New Web Design for www.newpaltz.edu!

New Web Design for www.newpaltz.edu!

July 31, 2012

Dear Campus Community,

The Office of Communication and Marketing is excited to announce that a revised design of the New Paltz website will be launched on Wednesday, August 1. Changes you’ll see were guided by analysis of user data that the web staff has collected continuously over the last several years.

Note: The change will not alter the process by which updates are made; OmniUpdate will still be available for any faculty or staff members who have received training, and the work order system in my.newpaltz.edu is still in place.

Project History & Goals
Communication & Marketing staff began working on this “refresh” during the 2011-2012 winter intercession. Under the direction and guidance of the Marketing Council, Office of Enrollment Management and the Office of the President, the project was completed by in-house staff with several goals in mind:

  • Create a home page that will serve as a marketing and recruitment tool for the institution, while improving usability for faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other regular users.
  • Update the design to conform to modern browser standards and effectively add more space for web content
  • Using visitor data (Google Analytics), industry standards, and consultation with key staff and students, update the navigation structure so that most commonly searched and institutionally important Web content will be more readily available from the college’s home page and all inside pages
  • Fully integrate the college’s newest branding and style attributes into the website design

Our secondary goals were:

  • To create a design that will allow for easy mobile viewing and interaction
  • Improve the functionality of the online events calendar

New Features
We are pleased to report that all of these goals were achieved through the implementation of several new features, including:

  • New Home Page:New Paltz’s home page has seen the greatest change throughout this refresh process. New items include:
    • New Rotating Image Gallery – The images featured on the home page will double in size, which creates a powerful first impression for visitors to the site, and allows us to showcase our great location, our outstanding faculty, staff, and students and our strong academic and co-curricular programs.
    • New Events Section – A live feed of the events calendar will be displayed more prominently on more pages throughout the site. We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the online events calendar is available to all faculty, staff and students to post events and happenings. This is a powerful tool that has been underutilized in recent years. By submitting your event to the online calendar, it will automatically appear on the college’s home page several days before the event, with optional thumbnail image and link to a full event description. If the event is open to the public, a description of the event will be sent to local media outlets. We urge everyone to take advantage of this feature as frequently as possible.
    • Multi-Use Content Area – An area near the bottom of the home page that will be used for presidential reports and updates, construction updates, and other institutional messages.
  • Mobile Site: The office is particularly excited to announce that our new design will be “responsive.” This means that the design and layout of the site will respond and conform to the screen size being used. Regardless of whether you view the site on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, the website will adjust to fit, ensuring no content is hidden or difficult to find.
  • Dropdown Menus: The website has been reconfigured with a series of new dropdown menus on the top of each page, ensuring that the most essential and useful information is displayed at all times. This not only makes it easier for our faculty, staff and students to find the items they need more quickly and easily, but also makes our homepage more attractive and navigable for prospective students whose first impression of our school is often our website.
  • Revamped Admissions Page: The Office of Communication and Marketing has worked closely with the Office of Undergraduate Admission to determine how our website, particularly our homepage and Admissions pages, can be used as a recruitment tool for potential applicants. Together these two offices collaborated to produce the most significant change to the Admissions site since its inception, with wholesale changes to both layout and written content.
  • Audience-Based Navigation: Using information obtained through analytics research of the Current Students, Faculty/Staff, Parents, and Alumni/Donors/Friends pages, we’ve reorganized these pages into different categories which best reflect the individual needs of each of these populations. For example, the pages now contain “Most Popular” categories, which contain links to the most-visited pages.
  • Feedback Form: A formal and user-friendly way of submitting questions, comments, concerns and suggestions about our website. Please let us know if you notice any bugs or issues on your pages, this is a common occurrence during these transitions.

Moving forward, our office plans to update the content on other institutional pages, and to further develop our relationships with other departments on campus in our ongoing effort to enhance our website to meet our institutional needs. This includes scheduling regular meetings with all administrative and academic departments on campus to assess how you can best utilize the website to reach your goals.

We look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions about the new site, and please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. Happy browsing!

Sincerely,

Office of Communication and Marketing