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New website design roll-out to begin

A comprehensive redesign of the Western Carolina University website is expected to begin unfolding on Thursday morning (Dec. 10), offering a number of new features, including clearer navigation and more storytelling.

The new site also will be responsive to screen size, meaning the content scales and reorganizes to work well on mobile devices.

The new website design will be featured on the home page and all top level pages, and users will also see the new design show up on pages for Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Scholarships, Development, new summary pages for each degree program, and much of the Student Life section, said Robin Oliver, director of marketing. The College of Business will be the first of the colleges to move to the new design, and all other colleges as well as important external-facing units such as Graduate School, Distance and Online Programs, the Honors College and more will move to the new design in the spring semester.

“We based our initial redesign priorities on feedback we received from students in focus groups during the redesign process,” Oliver said. “What we heard was that they were most interested in knowing what life would be like on campus, seeing video and photo content, and hearing from other students about their experiences.”

In addition to the new wcu.edu, the university is debuting a completely redesigned news site, news-prod.wcu.edu, and stories from the news site will feed regularly updated content on the website home page as well as gateway pages throughout the site.

An updated website has been a priority for Oliver since she began working at WCU in February. The process began immediately, when Oliver began contacting key individuals on campus about the needs and expectations for the new design, as well as identifying a web design firm for the project. Raleigh-based VisionPoint Marketing created the new templates for the OUCampus content management system.

As designs progressed from lists of needs to “wire-frame” mockups, open presentations were given on campus during the spring semester to elicit feedback and facilitate adjustments. Later, the mockups were updated to include representative images, colors and text styles, and then presented again in the autumn.

The vast majority of URLs – web page addresses – will remain the same, so the majority of existing links and bookmarks will not be affected, Oliver said.

The previous iteration of the WCU website debuted in 2006. The content management system Red Dot was replaced with OUCampus in 2013.

By Keith Brenton

Categories | The Reporter


Photos | WCU News Services

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