August 4, 2011 – Students, parents, scholars and fans looking for information about all the University of Utah (the U) has to offer, have a new “home.” After an extensive redesign process that included hundreds of hours of programming, designing and analyzing public input, the home page for the University of Utah, www.utah.edu, is ready for prime time.
Visitors to the redesigned site will find a more user-friendly and visually appealing portal for information about everything from admissions to clinical doctors, from academic courses to the rebuilt Natural History Museum, and from news to faculty experts.
“This is a big improvement over the previous home page site,” says Bill Warren, the U’s chief marketing and communications officer. “The state’s flagship institution needs to showcase the excellent research and educational opportunities at the U, and I think this new Web site has done that beautifully. We will be tweaking it as feedback comes in from users and our own design staff, but we wanted to get this done before students start returning for the fall semester.”
The site is largely populated with information provided by Warren’s Marketing & Communications department with events, social media, videos and images as well as information from the unews site, www.unews.utah.edu, run by the university’s central office of public relations also under Warren. The unews site has also recently undergone a transformation to make it easier to use and more visually appealing. It now has navigational tabs, a video feature, social media links and a more comprehensive experts list.
The new home page is designed to serve the entire U community with second-tier pages that focus on specific audiences and interests. It has menus that appear when a visitor places their cursor over the categories on the upper or lower navigational bars. One set of menus is designed for prospective and current students, parents, faculty, staff, visitors and alumni. The other provides general information about the university, academics, research, the arts, community outreach and links to the U’s Athletics Program and University of Utah Health Care.
University Information Technology oversaw programming for the project. The page averages 40,000 visitors daily, peaking last year at 92,000 on the first day of school. “I am very proud of our team for its expertise in designing and developing this Web site,” says U Chief Information Officer Eric Denna. “I think it showcases the team and its abilities in a wonderful way, and there is more to come.”
Several concept Web sites were initially developed after researching other university sites and getting feedback from the public. The top three designs were then shown to an advisory committee, which decided on the final look. University administration then gave its approval and the project was launched into the testing phase. Once the revised page was completed, the team then conducted a final performance and load test before its launch.
Feedback about the site can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.