New technology is student friendly

by Mindy Marks

Simpson’s Web site was redone over the summer and Information Services would like add other important information online.

“It’s a struggle for each college and university to make their Web site easy to use and cohesive to the outside world,” said Kelley Bradder, vice president of Information Services.

The Web site was completely rewritten so it would be easier for users to navigate. For students who were accustomed to using the old Web site, the new still seems a bit confusing.

“I like the new design, but I can’t find everything as easily as I used to be able to,” said senior Jen Hoffman.

Updating the Web site was a campus wide decision and a need recognized by students, faculty and staff, according to Bradder.

As of this week, students can access their e-mail from StormWatch, a link located under Campus Community on Simpson’s homepage.

“I haven’t checked my e-mail since the middle of last year because I use a different account,” said sophomore Lindsey Ehrenfelt. “But now maybe I’ll check it more because it’s so quick and easy.”

The benefits from using StormWatch include the ability to handle attachments and check e-mail from any Internet location.

For now, Storm Watch users may only store 10 megabytes of mail before it will be moved. The mail will not be deleted, but to retrieve it one would have to contact Information Services.

Added to the Web site were tools to make it easier to change and update the site. That might also increase the number of visitors on the site because it will contain the most current information.

The Web site is also used as a marketing tool by Simpson. Instead of just reading about May Term trips, prospective students have the opportunity to see photographs of Simpson students on their trips.

Just as trends and styles change, so does Web culture. In order to keep up with the changing trends, Simpson’s Web site adopted a comprehensive structure so users feel comfortable quickly when using the site.

To keep up with student interests, Information Services plans to form a focus group to decide how they can improve the website. In the future, students can look forward to additions on StormFront. Financial aid information and graduation requirements may be added to the site.

Information Services has added new computers at Simpson’s West Des Moines campus. Their next project will involve installing new computers in Dunn Library and Carver Science Center’s general lab.

In order to learn about more technological changes the Information Service’s staff attends conferences and reads computer journals.

“We go to all sources and bring back ideas to Simpsonize them to best fit our own culture,” said Bradder.

The Information Services staff looks at what is best for students and what is cost effective when looking for ways to improve. For example, Simpson is still one of the few colleges where phone numbers stay with students all four years.

The Web site is still a work in progress and Information Services looks to add more online information.