Redesign of the University Website

Web Design Partner
Brooklyn Digital Foundry

Web Development Partner
KWALL

New Content Management System
Custom-built Drupal-based CMS

Anticipated Launch
Unknown at this time

Every 4-5 years, depending on the university's needs, we redesign the website to better serve our various user audiences. This particular iteration included a change to the look-and-feel of the website, the content management system upon which it is supported, and a major shift to the way we organize our content (information architecture).

The new website look-and-feel was selected and refined over several months working in conjunction with our design partner as well as a Redesign Advisory Group including representation from a wide range of campus areas and including both student and faculty participation. Some of the highlights of the new design include:

  • Design factors in alignment with the university brand and graphic standards, including prominent use of our school colors
  • Development of a new brand-oriented video and straight-forward brand statement for the home page carousel helping prospective students gain an appreciation for who Puget Sound is and why they should consider attending
  • More prominent coverage of outcome-related data for our prospective families to consider
  • Easily accessed calls to action on the top and bottom global areas of the site allowing visitors who are ready to take action to easily VISIT, APPLY, or GIVE
  • A new events calendar that we feel will be easier to read and use, as well as allowing categorization of events that can also be streamed onto other site pages
  • Ability to highlight stories about various aspects of the university across the site from the Stories hub
  • Variety of visual options for displaying content in an engaging manner

 

The new content management system, a custom-built Drupal back end, will have some exciting benefits, as well:

  • Increased security patching for greater information security on our site
  • Ability to syndicate some content to multiple areas of the site, improving user experience
  • Open-source status offering a wide variety of shared code base that we have the potential of harnessing for our future site development
  • Continued ability to authenticate users through our single sign-on option (meaning you only need to remember your regular user name and password)

 

Our work on the content organization, or information architecture, involves separating out our content according to user group. We've been working on organizing our content into what is available for external users such as prospective students and what is really geared more towards a specific audience, such as our current undergrads, current graduate students, faculty, staff, or other audience groups.

Most of the information in the global navigation sections (ABOUT, ACADEMICS, ADMISSION, STUDENTS LIFE) will be oriented towards prospective students or other external users. Visitors can self-identify under a RESOURCES FOR drop-down in the global navigation and find an audience gateway that links to the specific content for that audience. (Note that these gateways will not require a login to access, but any information that is currently protected on our site will remain protected on the new site.)

For instance, study abroad information on the main website under ACADEMICS will include high level information about the number of countries students can study in, the fact that their financial aid can be used towards study abroad, and the great re-entry programming we have to help students re-acclimate to life on campus. A current undergrad clicking on the study abroad link on the undergraduate gateway would find much more detailed information about how and when to apply, as well as information for students who are currently abroad or returning. And a current graduate student might not see a study abroad link on their gateway at all, since that's not a university service applicable to that audience.