This school year, students can expect to be welcomed by several new additions on campus, including the new Center of the Arts building, new leadership in departments and as of August 15, a new website.
For a year and a half, administrators in web communications have been working to redesign the vt.edu website in hopes of improving its functionality and flexibility as users interact with content.
“It was time to, if not start making improvements, to start redesigning,” said Director of Web Communications John Jackson.
In order to do so, the university hired a firm from Raleigh, NC to survey users about the old website to target what changes needed to be made. The feedback highlighted key areas that required attention, such as the search engine function and the organization of information. In many cases, parents were having a difficult time finding the tools or information they needed for their students, according to Jackson.
The same concern has also been addressed to Penny White, director of parent and alumni relations, by parent committee members and at parent meetings.
“Sometimes things come up about finding things on our website. We usually direct people to our search engine and typically they can find information [from there],” White said.
To remedy the problem, the design incorporated a search engine tracks search terms being entered in order to customize information shown on the homepage. An example of this is move-in, when parents and students are searching for parking information and campus maps, Jackson said. Due to the demand for such information, it was all compiled into one section for convenience.
“Anything we can do to engage families to make it easier to navigate Virginia Tech is going to be positive because families are important to our students and our students’ success,” White said.
The new website also features more content on the homepage geared toward students. The Life and Learn section, for example, allows students to easily find links on graduate schools and international opportunities.
In addition, the site can also be accessed from a mobile device, a function it had before, but one that is now enhanced to provide the same capabilities and information as the full site.
“We wanted to provide users the opportunity to get as much of the content as if they were visiting vt.edu from a desktop,” Jackson said.
Despite several changes, the website continues to supply previous content such as Spotlights, Quick Links and the A-Z Index.
“It’s a work in progress. We’ll pay attention to feedback and see what traffic is doing. If folks have feedback, they’re welcome to send an email to email@example.com,” Jackson said.