By Kaylee Lindenmuth
If you visited KU’s website recently, you may have noticed the many changes university officials say will “improve the user experience.”
“This is the culmination of a presidential initiative; one of the first things Dr. Hawkinson requested when he came here was to redesign the website,” said Josh Leiboff, director of web and digital media, in a media release. “The way we did it was to bring the website into the modern age of technology and make it responsive and mobile-friendly. We’ve made it better for students, prospective students or any other user to use, and we did so in a way that allows us to continue to build upon it and make it easier to use.”
After two years in the making, the website was launched in early August and features a modern, mobile-friendly design that incorporates the university’s current branding.
At the top right corner of the website, when viewed from a desktop or laptop, is a new feature: K YOU, a play on the KU acronym, which features shortcuts to D2L, email and MyKU.
“No longer will students need to go to a certain page to find the links for these high-traffic applications–they can get to them from anywhere on the site,” Leiboff said.
The new design, according to the university, will help assist prospective students and currently undeclared students find the right major. One new feature to do so is a program finder, which categorizes KU’s majors and minors.
Among the most noticeable changes, KU officials say, are the visuals, “such as the use of accordions that allow content to be expanded and contracted by the user, image carousels that allow users to scroll through masthead images and videos and expanded use of photo galleries.”
The website was designed almost entirely by KU personnel, including Leiboff, Manager of Web Technology Kelly Smith, Web Integration Manager Andy Mull and application developers Chris Angelico and Dan Carroll. In addition, a committee spanning “all areas of campus,” was consulted, as were student focus groups.
“Many times, schools will outsource the heavy lifting of development and design, but because we developed the website here, we have a better understanding and ability to keep it up-to-date as things change. We can react to any issues much quicker and focus on providing a great user experience,” Leiboff said.
“This is a two-year-long project that’s coming to a close with this launch. Everyone has been involved, so the entire community should be proud,” Smith said.