Univesity Launches a new Web Site

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After a year of research, testing, consulting and hard work, the University of Houston recently deployed a new and improved Web site that is structured according to the needs and expectations of visitors, rather than by an organizational boundary line, according to Darcie Champagne, director of the Office of University Marketing.

“Our first priority was to enable prospective students to find the information they want, therefore, the architecture and language of the primary sections of the site are geared to the prospective student,” Champagne said. “We interviewed and surveyed hundreds of prospective students and tested our progress with them along the way.”

A notable enhancement of the new site is audience gateways. Through these gateways, many of the university’s diverse audiences will find the information most important to them right at their fingertips. For example, the faculty and staff gateway includes three sections — professional resources, campus services and administration.

The Web site also shows visitors a glimpse of campus life at UH by offering abundant photography and a series of features on almost every page. The site also provides visitors multiple ways to access the information — bullets, checklists, narrative and feature stories.

The Web site project began last year through a partnership between the divisions of University
Advancement and the Academic Affairs’ Office of Information Technology. UH hired mStoner, a national communications firm specializing in higher education Web sites, as project consultant.

The second phase of the Web site’s redesign will integrate additional pages and include the implementation of a content management system, software that makes it quicker and easier to update content on the Web. The next phase also includes training colleges and department staff on how to implement the new templates for their sites and adding more features such as blogs and video feeds.

Visit http://www.uh.edu/evolvinguh/ to learn more about the new UH Web site and review the research.

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