B.C. Web Pages To Get New Look

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College's official World Wide Web pages will become more easily navigable and will sport a more consistent look in the future, as a result of a project recently launched by University administrators.

The initiative stems from a partnership between the offices of Information Technology and Publications and Print Marketing, and Boston communications and graphic design firm Sametz Blackstone Associates. Under the plan, administrators say, Sametz Blackstone - whose clients have included Raytheon Corp., Digital Equipment Corp. and Yale University - is developing a new Web design template system that can be integrated into a new or existing Web page.

This design will include graphical and navigation elements that allow viewers to move more easily throughout the BC Web site, say the administrators. As part of the project, the top-level InfoEagle pages, including the BC home page, will be changed. The project is expected to be completed later this year.

"This initiative fits in with the strategic plan for developing and managing information technology at Boston College," said Vice President for Information Technology Kathleen Warner. "It also provides another valuable opportunity for the BC community to work together across different departments and offices, which is a hallmark of this university."

"The University's intention is for its official pages to have a common look and feel to them," said Institutional Information Resources and Services Director James O'Neill. "This way, visitors can more readily find the information they are seeking, or if they are browsing, will be able to find their way back and forth."

"It's a means to foster an institutional integrity to BC's graphic and visual identity," said Publications and Print Marketing Director Ben Birnbaum. "This is the beginning of a process that will outlast us. The Web will be a critical business medium for Boston College, and we've only just begun to use it. The scope of this project is relatively limited, but its applications will go on and on."

The focus of the project is on those Web pages designed for official University use, such as for an office, department or school, not personal Web pages of employees and students.

O'Neill said the enormous growth of the Web as a business, educational and research tool in the last few years has made an assessment such as this inevitable.

"At a certain point, you have to take a look at what's come around in the last couple of years, as well as what's missing," he explained. "Moreover, as BC continues to make itself a more service-conscious institution, we must address the needs of our major Web users.

"We have to look at our Web offerings from the perspectives of our different audiences," O'Neill continued. "What will help them find the pages they need? How can we provide a sense of connectivity and continuity between our official sites? This project gives us that kind of framework."

Dean for Enrollment Management Robert Lay agreed that a reconceived Web site would be a boon to the University's recruitment efforts.

"You have to think about the image of BC outside the institution, and how we want to project that image," said Lay, who along with O'Neill and Birnbaum is a member of an executive committee coordinating the project. "You can't see the Web as something passive, but as an interactive tool that will help prospective students and families make contact with BC.

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