College launches renovated web site.
Here it is.
Wheaton College has launched a renovated web site, following an intensive, 10-month effort that involved extensive consultation and feedback from the entire college community.
The launch of Wheaton’s new web site represents the completion of the first (and most dramatic) phase of a longer-term effort to enhance the college’s web presence and engage the entire community in telling Wheaton's story as effectively as possible.
On the surface, users will notice that the site’s design coordinates with the college’s graphic identity standards, including its Wheaton blue wrapping on every page and the college’s seal in the banner at the top of the home page. Numerous enhancements will also make the site easier to use for repeat users and first-time visitors.
“We’re excited to be introducing all the improvements that are part the first phase of the renovation,” said David Caldwell, director of the college’s Web Strategy team. “And we’re grateful for the support that we’ve had from President Crutcher, the President’s Council and everyone who contributed to this effort. We never could have done so much, so quickly, without a lot of help.”
The web site renovation began last April with the leadership of the college’s Web Strategy team, involvement of the Communications Office and expert consultation with White Whale, one of the nation’s leading firms in designing college and university web sites.
A series of focused conversations held in April with students, faculty and staff helped to inform the project’s overall direction; the Web Working Group, an advisory committee of faculty and staff drawn from across campus, provided ongoing guidance during the development process. Finally, a preview for the campus community provided important feedback.
The new web site puts Wheaton’s emphasis on connections front-and-center with a daily sentence accompanied by large photograph that show off the beauty of the campus and the breadth of activities that take place.
The new site also highlights the college’s strong sense of community by featuring Wheaton people in a new “People Quilt” that appears on the home page as well as other pages throughout the site.
The influence of social media can be seen throughout the site. The emphasis on Wheaton people includes an open invitation to members of the community to nominate themselves and others for the “People Quilt.” In addition, links to the college’s Facebook page, Twitter stream, LinkedIn group and Flickr site appear on the home page.
The renovation of the site goes well beyond a new design and new content, though. Navigation through the site has been standardized and improved. For example, every page on the Wheaton site now contains links to the main sections of the site, making it easy for users to jump from one area to another.
Core features of Wheaton’s web services—insideWheaton, webmail and quick links—are easier to find, too. Links to those in-demand features appear on every page. Directions, contact and emergency information also appear on every page, in the footer, facilitating better access.
The college’s search function, which is powered by Google, is better than ever. The search box now offers suggestions as users start to type in search terms. For example, typing in the letters “reg” automatically suggests “office of the registrar” as the most likely term.
Finally, the renovation included a switch to a new content management system, WordPress MU, that is easier to use and offers many more features for student, staff and faculty members who create and maintain Wheaton’s web site. At present, the core of the web site is managed in WordPress; the remainder of the site will be moved to the new system during the course of the spring.