MU tests new website

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The Marquette website will get a new look later this month after having the same design since 2007. Marquette’s web designers are asking for student feedback on a prototype of the new website that was sent to students last month.

The new layout will include a larger cover photo, brightly colored wording and a welcome tab for prospective students.

Tom Pionek, senior director of integrated marketing and digital strategy at Marquette, said the staff is taking student input on the web prototype until Feb. 15. The goal of the design update is to keep pace with constant technology changes and to provide a more user-friendly layout.

“Our goal is to get as much input as we can before we start building out the site, and the preview is a great way to reach a wide audience,” Pionek said. “We have already received a number of great ideas from students and are certainly looking for more.”

Designers have made minor alterations since the last major redesign in 2007.

“We anticipate that we need to do a number of smaller updates every year,” Pionek said.  “And we plan for a major update every few years.” He said it takes a few years to apply a major change across the website.

Since the last redesign, more visitors of Marquette’s site are using social media, search engines, tablets and smart phones.

“The current version of the website needs to accommodate changes in how users view and interact with the site,” Pionek said.

The resdesign will include “like” and “share” icons to interact with Marquette via social media, as well as a new layout that will accomdate  both smart phones and tablets.

The marketing and digital design department is reviewing and considering any feedback students may have, although not all opinions may not be featured in the final design.

“While every idea may not make it into the final design, we use our best judgment to come up with a solution,” Pionek said. “Overall, we are looking at every suggestion to identify any trends or changes in the design or organization of content.”

The exact date for the website’s official posting in not yet determined, but the Office of Digital Strategy and Marketing is willing to take student feedback even after the Feb. 15 deadline.

“If we have a lot of comments coming in late, then we would extend it a few days in order to give more people the chance to weigh in,” Pionek said.

Samantha Sousek, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she likes the new design and submitted feedback to the department earlier this week.

“It seems very easy to use,” she said. “I think that is the primary goal of any website – to make it accessible to its viewers.”

Sousek said she thought the larger photo on the homepage was a great addition and the news and events tab was well organized.

“The fact that the home page’s photo was bright and fun really attracted my attention,” she said. “I believe the rest of the student body will become familiar with this new layout as well.”

Lauren Gilbert, a freshman in the College of Education, had different opinions about the new web layout.

“I think minor changes like the Welcome Tab (for prospective students) is a nice touch,” she said. “But updating and reorganizing the entire website might be a little confusing to students.”

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