A Tour of the New depauw.edu
November 2, 2017
Phase I: November 2017
A New University Website
On November 1, the Office of Communications and Marketing launched the first in a series of major updates to the depauw.edu website. The focus of this initial stage was to create a space for prospective students, their families, and visitors to find out about DePauw in a more engaging, effective manner.
Here is an explanation of some of the new and revised components of the site, including the goals and ideas that went into them.
1. Main Navigation
One of our primary goals was to streamline access to our extensive website’s content — thousands of pages created by hundreds of authors over a decade and more — so it was easier to access and engage with for new or unfamiliar audiences. Prospective students should be able to spend just a few minutes on the site and come away with a firm sense of what DePauw is, what we stand for, and why they should consider applying. Similarly, for their parents, the site needs to anticipate all the most pertinent questions they typically have, while summarizing the benefits of a DePauw education. To that end, with the help of a full review by our partner, Dartlet, we recreated the main navigation, which appears on every page of the site.
There are six sections, each with a number of sub-links to key content areas: Discover DePauw, Admission & Aid, Academics, Arts & Culture, Athletics and Campus Life.
Another goal for the site is to make it fully responsive so it works well and looks good on any device. To that end, on mobile devices or small screens, the main navigation collapses to a 'hamburger' menu – three gold dashes at the top right of the screen – which expands to the full menu.
2. Audience Navigation - Site-wide links for specific audiences (AKA, where is my page?!)
While prospectives and visitors are the focus of the new site, it is just as important to serve all the other audience groups that visit the site: current students, faculty and staff, and alumni. As we heard in the repeated calls to 'fix the web,' the university site is a reference and source of information to a wide array of people in various roles. As in the previous design, we've pinned audience-specific links at the very top right of every page, that link to 'gateway' pages, tailored to each audience.
These have been expanded to include the previous main navigation structure at the left, for those familiar with the old structure of the site; highly-used resources at the top; and a more extensive index of other related resources down each page.
In additional Phases of the site audit, we will be working directly with Faculty, Staff and Students to create better, more interactive and more user-friendly spaces for the gateways.
3. Homepage Features
The site redesign was a change to add and improve several features to the front page of the University site.
Faces of DePauw: The University is ultimately about its people: students, faculty, staff and alumni. We heard many calls to emphasize the impressive, inspiring and dedicated range of people that make DePauw special. Many more will be added, and please let the Communications and Marketing office know if you know someone who should be featured.
Next Steps: Clear calls to action for prospective students – following most of the content on the main page.
High-quality introductory video: video is a primary source of information for the prospective student audience. We now have a space that will host a series of videos that explain the DePauw experience.
4. No content left behind - New design coming to the rest of the site in Phases II and III
While a lot has already changed, most of what you already know and rely on within the vast range of the University site remains unchanged. All department pages – academic and administrative – are as they were. University web authors will continue to have full control over their areas of depauw.edu.
Over the next several months, we will expand the new design and templates to the rest of the sub-sites and existing pages. Content reviews/meeting with individual departments about updating, freshening content, best ways to use new features of the redesigned templates and auditing information are forthcoming. Our team will help you through use of data to highlight your best content, and provide an informative space for your pages.
Mariel Wilderson, Director of Communications
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