The Ithaca College website, Ithaca.edu, is currently being completely reimagined and rebuilt. The site has not been rebuilt since 2006 — a time when iPhones didn’t exist, social media wasn’t as popular, and web best practices were very different. The new site will deliver the best web experience possible for all of its users, now and into the future.
This winter, portions of the current site will be launched on a new content management system and the entire site will utilize a fresh, modern, and responsive design that automatically resizes to display on any device. New navigation and search tools will be applied to make it easier for users to find the information they are looking for and deliver a user-focused experience.
“We're not just redesigning how the site looks and functions,” said David Cameron '96, senior web strategist. “We're also future-proofing it by rebuilding the tools and infrastructure that run it, making it easier for people to manage content and easier to evolve the site into the future, as technology evolves."
The project is being led by a collaborative team of IC staff from College Relations and Communications and IT. To tackle such an immense project, they have strategically partnered with two external web design and development agencies. Together, they have leveraged a team highly skilled in design, information architecture, web development, content strategy, user experience, multimedia production, user research, and a slew of other specialties. Learn more about the team on the project’s blog.
“We consider all members of the IC community as part of our team,” said Cameron. “The feedback from our content mangers and the analytics from our users is crucial in helping us make the hundreds of decisions that form our plans.”
The team working to build the site is aiming to launch Version 1 of the site to the public in spring 2018. They are currently working on building the site in a test environment and crafting fresh content for key pages. The next steps include testing the site’s functionality and user experience, making tweaks, and retesting.
After Version 1 is launched, the team will continue to release additional features and will work with content managers to migrate remaining content to the new site. Special attention will be paid to the site’s analytics in order to measure its performance and guide future changes. Learn more about what will change on Ithaca.edu with the launch of Version 1 on the project’s blog.
A variety of training workshops and guides will be offered to help content managers learn the new tools and help produce content that adheres to best practices. More information will be shared about the upcoming trainings soon.
Grounded in Research
The first phase of this project was research and the team spent over six months gathering the data and feedback they needed to make informed decisions about how to design and build the site. The team worked to answer critical questions, such as: What are the top ten goals for a revamped IC website? How will we determine which users are most important for each page? How can we trim our 30,000+ pages of content to give users a more focused experience?
The team conducted a variety of surveys and personal interviews, 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. Learn more about the research that went into the project.
More to Come
Prior to the launch of Version 1, the web team plans to share more information with content managers and the campus community. They will send direct emails, post updates on social media and Intercom, and hold open presentations for the community, faculty department chairs, and the student government, faculty, and staff councils.
More information about this massive project and the opportunity to peek at some of the work in progress, can be found at https://www.ithaca.edu/crc/blogs/work_in_progress/. Questions and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.