WKU’s website needs an “extreme makeover,” said Bob Owen, vice president for Information Technology.
So, next semester, visitors to the website will find it completely redesigned.
“The existing website is rather stagnant,” Owen said. “The new website will be consistent, current, fresh, reliable, interesting and appealing.”
Beginning at the end of January, the new website will launch in phases, said Stacey Biggs, chief marketing officer for Public Affairs.
She said the home page, some administrative pages and the public affairs page will be live first.
The project has been a collaborative effort, with two committees making decisions, Owen said. One committee is responsible for the new design, while the other committee is more technical and in charge of finding an appropriate content management system.
The design and content of the website will be reconfigured with new navigation links, fonts, colors and pictures, Owen said.
Biggs, who is also head of the design committee, said she and her team began blueprinting the new look and feel of the website this spring.
“In the beginning, we put an initial concept on paper,” Biggs said. “We talked about things we have to have on the website – things that are not negotiable – as well as things that we would like to see on the website that would make it more user-friendly.”
From there, the new design went through various “tweaking” processes to balance the functionality and aesthetic appeal, Biggs said.
When visitors first come to the new website, Biggs said she thinks they’ll notice it’s easier to navigate.
“Right now the website tries to be all things to all people,” Biggs said. “It makes it hard to navigate and find what you need.”
Gordon Johnson, director for Administrative Systems and Applications and head of the technical committee, said a new content management system will create consistency throughout the different college and departmental pages.
In October, the committee selected OmniUpdate for the new content management system, Johnson said.
He said OmniUpdate is well-respected and is used at a lot of other universities.
“It also allows folks who aren’t technical at all to do content updates,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to know HTML or anything technical to update or keep the content of a website updated if you have a good content management system.”
Biggs said the WKU website has thousands of pages, so it’s a huge project.
“I think it’s going to be great for everybody,” she said. “There’s going to be a lot of work for the next several months, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.”