This past Dec. the University of Indianapolis updated their public website, uindy.edu, with a new design and layout.
This update was coordinated by the university’s Communications and Marketing Department and was planned for about two years, according to Vice President for Communications and Marketing Jeanette DeDiemar.
“[The goal] was to better understand how we were communicating the university’s story and what differentiates us from other universities in the crowded noisy environment of higher education,” DeDiemar said.
DeDiemar said that the redesign took around six months to complete and involved determining who the audience for the website was how to communicate with them, the best features of the old website, and what would be needed for the website in the future. DeDiemar said that during those six months, the team behind the redesign did research and testing. They also had the input of students, faculty and administrators from across campus, as well as outside audiences.
DeDiemar said that one of the goals for updating the website was trying to tell the story of the university in a unique way. DeDiemar said that they did this by creating a site that is visually appealing and user friendly.
DeDiemar said that UIndy’s updated website is ahead of the curve because it is cross-platform compatible. Users will have the same experience on both the desktop and mobile versions of the website.
According to DeDiemar, the new site is beginning to have information that was originally only available on myUIndy. DeDiemar said that as they move information from myUIndy, that the university is beginning to evaluate what should remain on myUIndy and what will be moved away.
“There will always be a need for a myUIndy, where information and experiences have to be secure. What you will find is that information that we’d like the rest of the world to see will be above the myUIndy kind of threshold, or firewall,” DeDiemar said. “myUIndy sits on different platform than the university website. We will continue to tweak it and look at what the university needs to do to upgrade that experience.”
DeDiemar said that the first step the university is taking is by partly updating myUIndy by moving information from myUIndy to the public website.
“The next step would be taking a look at what information needs to be contained within a firewall and that’s information like that’s about the student experience when you register,” DeDiemar said. “You will see that myUIndy will still have a purpose and a strength and we’re going to make it easier to use it. We will put less information on there and it’ll be really focused on those things that need a firewall.”
According to DeDiemar, another change for UIndy’s website was the creation of Intercom for faculty and staff communications. DeDiemar said that faculty and staff are able to find information such as I.T. updates and human resources updates on that site. According to Vice President of Information Technology Steve Herriford, the I.T. Department is planning on having student feedback for potential changes to myUIndy. Herriford said that he is planning on meeting with Indianapolis Student Government to talk about myUIndy along with other technology issues.
“We’re looking at upgrading [my UIndy] or replacing it with something new,” Herriford said. “We have a mobile app—which is called Ellucian Go—and then we have the actual portal [myUIndy]. The portal is not really mobile friendly, and we know students do so much on their mobile phones, nowadays, so we’re looking for something that is more mobile friendly.”
Herriford said that the department is not really sure what students use myUIndy for and that this is one of the key questions that they hope the feedback will answer.
“Are [students] finding documents, are they using it for course registration and registration time? We want to get some feedback about what is it that students want to have, and we’ll take that information and decide what direction to go with it.”