New Web site more ‘navigator-friendly’

by Cassie Lauterbach

Simpson recently went live with its newly constructed Web site as a finished product. For more than six months, Information Services has been building and perfecting the new Web site.

“We had to work at quite the pace to get as much done as possible,” said Missy DeYoung, Simpson’s web architect. “Our main concern was to make the site more navigator-friendly and functional for everyone.”

One of the reasons to improve the Web site was that in the past, students complained the search results were confusing and hard to understand.

“I wasn’t always sure how to do a search on the last Web site, and sometimes the results were confusing,” sophomore April Peterson said.

For that reason, Simpson students, faculty and community members were asked to provide input.

“We tested adult students, faculty, current students and high school seniors on their capabilities to navigate the site,” DeYoung said. “In the past, things weren’t getting highlighted that should have been. With over 50 faculty members having capabilities to update the site, we hope to create a more accurate and current site for everyone.”

Beside the overall appearance of the site, there are internal differences: an improved search engine and a new content management system.

“Our biggest complaint was that people were having trouble with the search capabilities.” DeYoung said. “It was hard to figure out what information was being returned to them.”

In previous years, Simpson has been criticized for outsourcing the construction of its Web site, but this wasn’t the case this time.

“All design was done within the college itself,” DeYoung said. “We didn’t hire an outside source to do the work.”

According to DeYoung, students’ reaction and input will be key in the upcoming weeks.

“We will continue to seek feedback on information and services we can add to it to make it even more useful,” DeYoung said.

On Aug. 8, the renovated athletics section of the Web site was up and running. The Office of Admissions saw its page changed on Sept. 24.

The entire site consists of 1,348 pages, 11,715 internal links and 255 templates.

“The launch of the new site isn’t the end of the process, but rather the beginning point of our efforts to bring the services and communications of Simpson College in line with the expectations and conveniences of today’s technology,” DeYoung said.