University hopes to boost views and make site more accessible
By now, most of the university community has noticed a change to the school’s home page.
It is a new interface that is hoping to boost the website’s views and make it easier for individuals to access what they need.
Lindsey Beyer, the director for Web Marketing, stated, “Website analytics show us that over time, our numbers were changing slowly but steadily, and in the wrong direction.”
This decline is partly due to the website having “a higher bounce rate,” which is “the number of people who land on [the] webpages and leave right away.” Beyer cites research done by Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a website that studies the management and enrollment of universities to connect students to a successful higher education. Their national survey research shows that Mankato was “missing some core functionality that current and future students have come to expect and demand,” said Beyer. As a result, the university set out to make a beneficial change to the school’s website.
“The new website system will be a step forward in helping us to manage, regulate, and organize our content,” said Beyer. What we see today is only the beginning. “It is the very first baby-step into adopting not only a website redesign, but also a user-centered content strategy and a powerful technology system for communicating with audiences in the digital landscape,” she said.
Ted Johnson, the Assistant CIO for Mobile, Web and App Development in IT Solutions, states that most of the feedback from students and staff has been very positive, though with any new project, there will be challenges to overcome. One such issue includes students not being able to find specific information that might have previously been easy to access. As a result of student responses to the new interface, the university is working to create the Current Students page to “function as their new home page,” which will benefit students immensely, said Johnson.
Usability testing is already in place with both students and employees to find potential issues and make necessary improvements throughout the upcoming years.
While the plan is to change all website interfaces in the next year or so, “it will take months to complete since there are over 30,000 pages on our public website,” Johnson said.
Beyer concludes, “The new top navigation is more robust and is intended to provide quick access to important resources as well as provide answers to high level questions quickly and easily.”
There is still work to be done, but the transition of the new webpage interface is in full swing and will bring a new technological flare to the university. For more information, questions, or concerns, you can email Lindsey Beyer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ted Johnson (email@example.com).
Photo: (Courtesy of mankato.mnsu.edu)