The New Western website went live August 30, 2011 - two days ahead of schedule! See the Message to Campus from our leaders.
We thank the hundreds of you that participated to make this design a truly Western production.
Stage 2 of the redesign will begin in September 2011 and will include:
When we began to work out details of the final design we ended up combining aspects of the two designs most favored by campus: the "Corner Banner" and the "Left Menu" design from 6/24. This final design incorporates a prominent story slideshow element that is secondary only to the logo and menu to establish the brand. We also plan to incorporate a strong sense of place in two ways: by making the first story that shows an image of campus and by also providing an easy permanent link into "Campus Photos". The other elements include news and events as well as a feature intended to draw prospective students into the site since they are our primary audience for this site. Secondary pages will keep the menu and logo, but at a slightly smaller size to allow more room for content. Compare the old and new designs.
Our new Index, rather than being one huge list like the old index, has categories of entries so users can filter the list to the items they're interested in. For the new home page and the outward facing audience we created these categories:
Or you can view the whole Index.
Note that in distinction to common usage on campus we are differentiating between Academic Departments and non-Academic departments by calling the non-Academic Departments "Administrative Offices". We believe this will be clearer for our prospective students. Every other entity that is not a College, Department, or Office we're calling a Center, Institute or Program since the various units use all these names to differentiate themselves.
Our new search service runs on the Google Search Appliance - a piece of hardware in our server room that we bought from Google. This replaces the free service that we have used for years which is no longer supported by Google. The new service gives us more capability to more quickly incorporate new pages as well as to respond more appropriately to keywords. See more about the new Search.
Menus have been simplified in the new design to more clearly accommodate external audiences.
These designs were accepted by our Advisory Committee and now will go forward for usability testing. From the usability testing we will select the features that work best from the three designs or modify the features to make the site work well for our visitors. Here are the three major layouts that we are moving forward with.
To see what happened before June, please visit our history pages: