Simpson’s Web site receives a makeover

by Katie Anthony & Allison McNeal, Staff Writers

In order to meet the rising expectations in technology and design, Simpson College decided to redesign its Web site. Changes will be fully completed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

Web Architect Missy DeYoung said that the redesign was an essential part in the college’s ability to embrace technology and better serve students.

“We looked at college sites, social media sites, sports sites, news sites, blog sites and all kinds of other Web sites to come up with the design for the new look,” DeYoung said.

Along with looking at other sites, “the new design evolved to bring the site more visually in-line with the new athletics site we launched last spring,” DeYoung said. “Basically, this is an evolution of the previous functionality married with a fresher, new design.”

Previously, the site went under major change during the 2004-2005 school year. After 2005, the home page was then revised twice.

Though there were some changes to the site, Simpson launched a new athletics site in spring 2008, which led to a complete redesign of the site over the summer. Academic and admissions pages were also worked on this fall.

One aspect of the fresher design includes a drop-down menu of categories that occurs on every page. The events, news and feature category has also been expanded and now allows automatic RSS feeds of sports and campus news, as well as upcoming events.

According to DeYoung, the new site “has taken the functionality people liked on the prior home page, such as the quick jump links and search features at the top, and put it on every new page in the site.”

Another important addition was a global navigation bar, which allows individuals to find what they need more quickly.

One of the biggest changes to the site was adding more features and profiles of students. DeYoung said that with the Portal and Symplicity available to current students, the main site is shifting more toward “external audiences.”

“The academic pages can be used to show prospective students the unique opportunities available for them at Simpson,” she said.

DeYoung also said that the new site also has a much cleaner design, which should make it easier for people to navigate.

“The Web evolves at such a fast pace,” DeYoung said. “We wanted to try and create a design that will last for a while.”

Junior Renauld Shelton agreed with DeYoung and said that it was time to change Simpson’s home page.

“The old site used to have small print on some of the pages, and it was hard to navigate,” Shelton said. “Now, the print is readable, and instead of having to go to two or three other pages, I can just go to one site to get information.”

Freshman Allie Walker agrees.

“I like how the background color changed,” Walker said. “It makes the links a lot easier to see and a lot easier to find.”

Other students, like Shelton and current staff, gave feedback on different aspects that weren’t working well for them and gave useful feedback to the Web site on what they could improve upon.

After the site was launched, DeYoung and her staff received an overall positive feedback from Simpson.

Though the site was well-received, DeYoung said that they will have to wait and see whether or not the site will continue to be a success.

“It’s too early to tell,” DeYoung said. “We’ll be assessing the web stats and comparing them to previous years as we get further down the road in the process.”