Emory Report

January 31, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 19

Web site gets facelift

By Michael Terrazas

The front pages of Emory's website have a new look and feel, incorporating the design concepts of the new University identity standards while providing a more refined system of linking to the more than 400 online University resources.

The change affects the topmost level of www.emory.edu, the "gateway" site that provides visitors to Emory's home page a structure to use to find what they want. This is the fourth design of Emory's gateway site; the first site went live in 1995 and was last redesigned in late 1997.

New elements include an "Emory Resources" section, a new "Computing Resources" page, and a place on the external page for dynamic content for "News at Emory." Also new is the ability to search the site directly from the front pages.

A new Ultraseek search engine was deployed before the redesign by web developers in Information Technology Division's teaching and research group. The new search tool greatly improves the accuracy of searching on Emory's site.

The new design, which launched Jan. 24, was implemented by University Communications and created by Atlanta-based web development shop MacQuarium.

MacQuarium was selected from among seven vendors who responded to a request for proposals last spring. All the schools and major units of Emory were invited to send representatives to web redesign planning sessions last April that examined the functionality and navigation of the internal and external gateway sites.

"We sat down in May with the consultants from MacQuarium and gave them pages of notes from those sessions," said Jan Gleason, assistant vice president of University Communications. "We also looked at the websites of other universities to inform our work.

"By mid-June we had some initial designs from MacQuarium, and we sent notes to everyone who had participated in those sessions and asked them to review the designs. We went through three or four versions of the designs and tried to incorporate as many suggestions from the community as possible."

The redesign project was put on hold for a couple of months when executive web producer Scott Barker left Emory in August 1999. John Mills, who took the position in late October, oversaw the implementation of the new design and its launch.

"The design isn't really a generational leap in the functionality of the Emory website," Mills said. "I think of it simply as an update that brings the design into compliance with new guidelines established by the identity project while at the same time improving the site's usefulness."

University Communica-tions will soon produce templates under the new design that web developers across the entire campus can use to produce pages that match the new scheme.

These templates will be made available online sometime after the launch in a revamped "Web Guide."

"Nobody will require that website developers at Emory use the templates for new design," Mills said. "Our intent with the Web Guide will be to make it so easy to create pages that include the look and design of the gateway site that it will just be a no-brainer to use this resource."

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