Simpson readies plans for new Web site

by Alysun O'Brien

Simpson’s Web site is getting a “face-lift” this winter with hopes of completion by the end of March.

“There’s not a consistent look and feel [to the current site],” said Kelley Bradder, vice president of information services. “This will enable people to publish pages quickly and efficiently to make the look and feel be consistent.”

Aura Consulting, a consulting firm based out of Des Moines and Chicago will do the redesign of the Web site. The price tag for this project will be around $44,000.

The new Web site will focus more on external contacts, such as prospective students, students’ parents and alumni. The designers have been using outsider’s views to help them tailor the Web site for these external contacts and to give the Web site a fresh perspective.

One of the new features will include an area on the Web site that will link the user to faculty, enabling visitors to view pictures of professors on the Web site before they come to Simpson to meet with them.

The designers have been meeting with different departments to see what they would like on the Web site.

“One of the main goals is to make navigation around the site easier and to add functionality,” said Bradder.

“I hope the new Web site is easier to navigate. Many students find the current Web site not to be user-friendly,” said junior Jennifer Ferguson.

The current Web site takes browsers to many different areas, but the new site will ideally allow them to see these areas on the face instead of digging for what they want to find.

“This change will be more of a re-build then a new look. The designers will be doing more than just new graphics,” said Bradder.

Aura Consulting will be looking for student input to find out what they would like to see on the new Web site.

The first stage of the redesign will be a front page. After this page is completed they will seek more input from students, faculty and staff to get their impression of the design.

Necessary changes will be made and further input will be sought out. This process will continue until they feel they have met the needs of the people who use the Web site the most frequently.

Bradder said the current Web site has not been updated in about three years.

“It’s gotten a fresh look, but not a re-design from bottom up,” she said.

“I would just like to see more functions added to the Web site. Like the grades on the web idea,” said junior Sheila Vert.

The StormFront is a new feature that added to Simpson technology, giving students access to grades on the Web. This feature is separate of the new Web site. It is hoped to be put to full-time use after getting feedback from students to see how they liked it.

“The development of the new Web site will not stop after this, but will continue to keep up with the needs of everyone that uses it,” said Bradder.