June 3, 2010

University unveils upgraded homepage

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Vanderbilt University’s new homepage was created with input from students, faculty and staff.

University unveils upgraded homepage

Vanderbilt University recently launched a new Internet homepage designed to make key resources easier to find while continuing to showcase the institution's dynamic academic, research, patient care and campus life offerings.

“The Web and our usage of it have evolved dramatically since we last redesigned our homepage three years ago. The new Vanderbilt homepage and associated sites showcase the diversity and excellence of our community and are designed to get users quickly to the information they seek within the vast Vanderbilt Web presence,” Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, said.

“This new site was built with input from students, faculty and staff and shaped with detailed data about how the millions of people who visit Vanderbilt online use our site.”

The new site has a clean, open look and simpler navigation to help focus the user. “Mega dropdowns,” large menus of key links that appear when users hover over the main gray navigation links, get people to the sites they are seeking more quickly.

The terminology of the navigation has been updated. For example, the former Prospective Students link is now Admissions. The former Colleges and Schools link is now Academics.

Both changes were made to be more direct and to keep the terminology in line with what prospective students and faculty are familiar with at other universities.

A new tools section, which appears on the top of every page, allows users to quickly access the most popular applications and services, including e-mail, YES, C2HR and other applications, Libraries, People Finder and Campus Map.

News, events, photographs and the weekly VUCast newscast are featured prominently on the homepage, and second-level pages linked to from the homepage have been significantly enhanced with more information, photos and resources.

The new site footer features a photo gallery linked to the photo sharing website Flickr, links for key audiences as well as links to the University's social media presences and links to current popular links at Vanderbilt.

The new site was designed to be easily adapted for those wishing to have a similar look and feel to the main homepage on their own websites, while still maintaining their identity.

The Office of University Web Communications is already working with numerous offices around campus to help them implement this new look and organization, and is also rolling out a new content management system to make content updates easy and efficient.

Both serve the goal of improving the cohesion of Vanderbilt's Web presence and the strength of its technical backbone.

The site is designed to be viewed by all modern standards-compliant Web browsers, accessible by those with disabilities, and minimally readable by all Web-reading software.

For more information about the new homepage, visit the University Web Communications website at www.vanderbilt.edu/publicaffairs/webcomm/.