Oct. 22, 2009
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt
Sam Houston State University will unveil its redesigned Web site when it goes “live” on Nov. 9.
More than two years in the making, SHSU president Jim Gaertner authorized the Web site redesign project in October 2008 as part of the marketing effort for the university.
“The goal of the new Web site is to both brand the university and catch the attention of potential students so that they will apply,” said Jurden Bruce, SHSU Web administrator. “The redesigned site will be a resource for potential students to find the information they need.”
Part of that goal is also to shift the SHSU Web site away from being a portal site to a publication-type Web site.
Portal sites serve as gateways that allow users to find internal and external things from a Web site. A good example of a portal page is Yahoo!, which includes a number of functions (such as autos or travel) “where everyone goes through Yahoo! to get to the function,” Bruce said.
“Portal sites as university pages died off a few years ago and are not really the best practice anymore. Now it’s all about content," he said. "Your Web site is about what people are going to find there, and that’s why Google is now the leader in the search engine market because they deal in just content.”
The redesign will provide a single focus to the university Web site, which currently consists of more than eight different elements, including visitors, faculty and staff, accepted students and current students.
“This shifts the focus of the main page to a polished showcase, allowing prospective students to see all of the possibilities available to them at Sam Houston,” Bruce said. “So the research and faculty section is about the awesome people we have on campus and the people who have given us the name in digital forensics, in chemistry, in history.”
While the focus may be different, the home page will still serve as a “very functional Web site for all of our internal staff,” said Ann O’Meara, marketing director.
“This design advances our online image to be comparable with leading universities,” Bruce said. “We don’t want to be the hidden jewel anymore.”
Among the changes site visitors will notice are:
Within 18 months of “going live,” Computer Services anticipates having all departmental pages redesigned and upgraded to a new content management system.
“We’re working with our systems team hand-in-hand to make sure everything is done according to the industry best practices,” Bruce said.
The Web site redesign committee was comprised of Heather Crowson, Frank Holmes and Ann O’Meara, Mark Adams, Keri Rogers and Thelma Mooney.
For more information, or to see a prototype of the new Web site, visit http://www.shsu.edu/~shsu_web.
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