University to Introduce New Web Design Next Month

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Boston College will unveil a modernized and revamped World Wide Web page design next month that offers on-line visitors a more organized and efficient way to find information about the University.

The project, a partnership between the Office of Marketing Communications and Information Technology, will be lauched on June 11 when selected departments introduce new Web pages with user-friendly navigation bars and menus and a consistent graphic and color scheme.

"It is an intelligible design that will offer a clean and logical way to unite BC's Web sites," said Office of Marketing Communications Executive Director Ben Birnbaum.

Departments slated to begin working with the new page templates are IT, Marketing Communications and the Undergraduate Admission and Public Affairs offices.

Once this phase is completed, other offices and departments will gradually take up the new Web page design until it is in use across the University.

When the new design is completed, administrators say, students, employees and visitors alike will have an easier time navigating the BC site and finding the information they seek.

"There will be a real consistency to BC Web pages now and users should be able to find information easily," said Associate Director for Internet Strategy and Technology Beth Dority.

Explaining the project's importance, Birnbaum said a university's Web site, like the design of its print publications, should reflect the institution's values and goals. As more offices and departments use the revised Web design and resources, he said, the information available through BC's Web site will have a visual integrity that affirms the University's identity.

"If it's not clear, then it looks like you don't have a direction," said Birnbaum. "This new design will keep our message consistent and focused."

But Birnbaum emphasized that the new Web page templates would also promote innovation and imagination among those faculty and staff who are already skilled Web developers.

"There will be space for those who wish to be creative," said Birnbaum. "We'll still be giving them a canvas on which to work."

As part of the project, IT has developed a new web site management application to build sites quickly based on the new template and navigation system. The new version will make it easier for faculty and staff who are unskilled in Web authoring to create and manage their sites.

"We wanted to offer a more finite set of tools that are geared to what people need," said Dority.

Information sessions for the departments involved in the first phase will be announced shortly. IT is also developing a Web page with additional information on the project.


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