Murray State’s website will receive a number of modifications in the months to come, giving way to a more user-friendly experience.
Catherine Sivills, assistant vice president for University Communications, said the last time the website had an overhaul was about six years ago when it transitioned from a static website to SiteFinity, a content management system. The website is no longer fulfilling the needs of the campus like it when it was implemented, she said.
“In the last two years, that system did not provide us with the upgrades necessary to meet our expectations for the both the end users on campus and the audiences we are communicating with,” Sivills said.
A team of in-house web designers comprised of Charley Allen, web manager for the project, and Daniel Fukuhara, a web specialist, requested funds in 2013 to develop a Request For Proposal to change to a more dynamic content management system. The two are also in charge of the redesign and will work on it during Winter Break.
Sivills said the University’s website is the number one platform students and parents use when seeking information about Murray State. Second to only the recruitment staff, it is a crucial tool in the recruitment process, she said.
Allen said the most important piece of the redesign is becoming a responsive website.
“A responsive site will provide an optimal viewing experience for all users, regardless of what device they are using to view the site,” she said.
Web Management met with admissions staff for undergraduate, graduate, transfer and international recruitment and their feedback helped add new elements to the homepage to address specific areas of concern in the design, Allen said.
Some of those new features are three distinct “call to action” buttons to encourage prospective students to request information, schedule a visit or apply, she said.
“The website is our number one marketing tool, so we want to encourage potential students to get in touch with our admissions staff,” Allen said.
The redesign will make the website more compatible for mobile users.
The web staff will also work on reducing page load times and making sure the website loads quickly on older and slower networks and devices. Page load times are especially vital in rural areas and international markets where cellular networks are slower, she said.
“Website design is never really finished, so we will be continuing to test and make adjustments to ensure information is easy to access, fast and accessible to all potential users,” Allen said.
Story by Teddy Martin, Staff writer