Ithaca College Releases First Stage of Major Website Overhaul

By Dan Verderosa, May 17, 2018
Overhaul updates site's technology, design, content and structure.

On May 11, Ithaca College launched the first version of what will be a completely rebuilt and redesigned website, which will not only be more visually appealing, but will be easier to use. This is the biggest change to’s technology, design, content and structure in more than a decade.

Prominent portions of have been updated with new navigation and structure; a contemporary, mobile-friendly design; a fresh color palette; vibrant imagery, video, and written content; and an intuitive, flexible open-source content management system, Drupal 8.

This release is the first major milestone in the ongoing overhaul. So far, nearly 350 pages of content are completely new or rebuilt in Drupal, along with 700 news stories from the past two years. The remaining parts of the website are scheduled to be moved or edited in stages, with the web communications team working in partnership with offices across campus. In the meantime, those sections have received subtle upgrades so that they look more like the new site and respond well on mobile devices. Additional content, features, and functionality will be added to the site in the coming weeks and months. Special attention will be paid to the site’s analytics to measure performance and guide future changes.

"Drupal is very versatile, and it’s supported by a large open-source community that is constantly evolving the product," said lead developer Eric Woods. "By adopting Drupal for the new site, we have the building blocks in place to take the site wherever we want to take it next, for many years to come.

Everything, from the navigation to the design, to the imagery to the writing, was created with the audience in mind. "The visual design sets the tone and frames the user experience," said Katherine Malcuria, senior digital user interface designer. "The new design direction needed to speak to Ithaca College's story and community, while being fresh and distinctive, encouraging even those who are very familiar with IC to see it in a new light."

"Our web visitors' thoughts and questions must be at the center of all our thinking. College websites need to be useful and compelling for very different groups of people with very different priorities and interests, and that is a challenge," said Jennifer Campbell, associate vice president for college relations and communications. "But it’s a worthwhile challenge, because we genuinely want to give our audiences a website that serves their needs and brings to life the uniqueness of the college."

What's New with

  • A more intuitive and user-focused global navigation
  • A responsive design that automatically resizes to fit any screen
  • An interactive campus map that includes building photos and information; integration with Google Maps for directions; and special layers for accessibility, parking and events, and future options for a guided tour
  • A rotating collection of People Spotlights featuring profiles of students, faculty, staff and alumni.
  • An "IC Resources" section for current students, faculty and staff, to jump quickly to the most-visited systems, tools and resources
  • A "Life at IC section" with information for prospective students about learning and living at IC. (70 percent of U.S. students said that a college’s website was more influential than emails, phone calls, print marketing, college rankings and college planning sites. "Life at IC" acts as a portal to the information most sought after by prospective students.)
  • Signature Experiences, which highlight examples of what makes IC unique among colleges and universities. Some of the experiences highlighted at the site’s launch are the Los Angeles Program, the Professional Development Series and the Movement Analysis Lab.

Campus-Wide Effort, Rooted in Research

The project is being led by a collaborative team of IC staff from College Relations and Communications and Information Technology with expertise in design, information architecture, web development, content strategy, user experience, multimedia production, user research and a host of other specialties.

Even before the first line of code for the new site was written, the team spent more than six months gathering the data and feedback it needed to make informed decisions about how to design and build the new site. The team analyzed data from all of the pages within the current website and examined best practices and leading-edge sites with a history of excellent performance.

“This project would have been impossible without input from the IC community and analytics from our users. Listening to our users will continue to be an integral part of our strategy as we roll out new features in the coming months.” 

David Cameron ’96, senior web strategist and project lead

To build an that truly meets the needs of everyone in the IC community, the web team sought to include stakeholders from across campus in the process, surveying current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and conducting personal interviews with IC stakeholders and content managers. As the project moved along, campus partners were invited to test portions of the new site and provide feedback to the team.

“This project would have been impossible without input from the IC community and analytics from our users,” said Cameron ’96, senior web strategist and project lead. “Listening to our users will continue to be an integral part of our strategy as we roll out new features in the coming months.” 

As additional parts of the website are migrated to the new content management system, content managers will receive special training to use the new site. Additionally, content managers will be partnered up into several “site teams” that will meet regularly to receive ongoing training, share best practices and review web analytics.  

“We want to empower content owners with knowledge and training, and inspire them to continue improving,” said Cameron. “Our web team will be working constantly to identify areas for improvement and new features to keep the site user-friendly and relevant. The tools and infrastructure that we’ve built will allow us to evolve the site as technology changes, essentially future-proofing”

More information about this transformational initiative, and the opportunity to peek at some of the work in progress, can be found at