University Takes the Wraps Off Its New Web Design

University Takes the Wraps Off Its New Web Design

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Boston College's World Wide Web presence took on a different look this summer, as the University unveiled a modernized and improved Web page design intended to guide on-line visitors more easily to information they seek.

Several offices and departments, including the Alumni Association and offices of Marketing Communications and Undergraduate Admission, are now employing the new design, which features user-friendly navigation bars and menus and a consistent graphic and color scheme.

The design, created through a partnership between the Office of Marketing Communications and Information Technology, will eventually be in use across the University, administrators say.

"The feedback we're getting from alumni and others has been excellent," said Office of Marketing Communications Executive Director Ben Birnbaum. "We're hearing that the site is easy to navigate and visitors are finding what they're looking for. And that was really the goal."
Associate Director for Internet Strategy and Technology Beth Dority said, "We're in an intense period of development right now but we're making excellent progress."

As part of the project, IT has developed a new Web site management application to help build sites quickly based on the new template and navigation system. The tool, called WebIT, makes it easier for faculty and staff - even those who may be unskilled in Web authoring - to create and manage their sites.

"This new technology allows information providers across campus to focus on the information they want to make available on their site," said Dority. "They can now focus on keeping that information up to date and relevant. With WebIT, site maintenance concerns go away."

WebIT offers potential savings in time and cost to the University, Dority said. For example, she explained, Marketing Communications can make alterations to color or design elements automatically without having to change every University Web page manually. WebIT also allows campus content providers to continue using different Web-authoring tools such as Dreamweaver or Front Page, she said, eliminating the need for training and software expenses.

A small group of IT technicians are training BC Web site developers in the use of WebIT and assisting with the conversion of their existing sites to the new design, Dority said.

"One of the primary efforts for the technical team right now is to develop a plan for helping others get started with WebIT and moving to the new design," said Dority.

Information on the new site design is available at /newweb/.


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