If you have visited York’s home page over the past few days, you will have noticed some big changes. The new www.yorku.ca features a refreshed design, exciting visuals and enhanced navigation to York’s top-tier web pages.
Above: York’s redesigned home page offers news, video and enhanced navigation
The new front door is the result of broad consultations with the University community, including Faculty deans, administrative units and departments, led by the University Relations Division and the University Information Technology (UIT) department. It replaces York’s previous external and internal home pages to provide a more seamless user experience.
It’s a crucial project for York. A university’s home page has a major impact on recruitment. In a 2010 survey of prospective students, 92 per cent said they’d take a university off their list if they didn’t find what they needed on its website, and 24 per cent said they had done just that because of a bad web experience. Meanwhile, 65 per cent said they’d be more interested in a university if they had a positive web experience.
“Our University’s home page presents one of the biggest opportunities to make a positive impact and reflect York’s strengths and priorities,” says Vice-President University Relations Jennifer Sloan. “With this in mind, the objective of the visual refresh is to showcase the vitality that exists on York’s campuses and ultimately attract high-quality students.
“This refreshed design provides the framework to highlight our many York stories of academic excellence,” says Sloan. “I am particularly enthusiastic about our new ability to feature authentic videos as I am a firm believer that videos make an impact, particularly with our primary target audience.”
Key changes include these new features:
- Striking photography illustrating York’s strengths and priorities displayed in rotating banners that are clickable and scrollable. The banners will be refreshed on a regular basis.
- A spotlight section reserved for key University initiatives, with a rotating space to display video, photos and text.
- A news feed of the top three YFile stories of interest to the University’s external audiences.
- A scrollable daily events feed that visitors to the website can use to find out more information about the many lectures, performances and other events happening on the Keele and Glendon campuses.
- A bulletin section that will be used in the event of a weather or other emergency. It features a special bulletin window that will contain details of any closures.
Additional changes improve navigation and include:
- An improved search function with space to type in a search request.
- Larger buttons for key audiences that eliminate the need for the previous internal homepage and offer a direct route to relevant pages for future students, current students, and faculty and staff.
- A “mega menu” located at the bottom of the home page that provides an additional way to navigate to other areas of the yorku.ca website, geared to helping future students and visitors.
- New top global navigation bars for University websites and pages that use widescreen versions of the previous external and internal York web page templates.
Composed of more than two million web pages, the York University website is a complex and dynamic entity, and it is challenging to make broad-scale changes quickly. The UIT and University Relations teams decided on a phased approach to revamping the existing home page, with the first phase focusing on refreshing its visual identity and navigation.
“Our home page was in need of a refresh and we feel that, together with the community, we have created a great result,” says Bob Gagne, York’s chief information officer and head of UIT. “This new look is just the first step to a further, more in-depth look at our website, so stay tuned.”
The next phase will take a closer look at navigation needs from key stakeholders in order to maximize York University’s primary information source.
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