New College website updated with social media interactivity, streamlined approach

By Shira Kipnees II Staff Writer

On Monday, Dec. 1, after 20 months, the College launched a completely rebuilt website to replace the old website, which dated back to 2009.

According to Cass Cliatt, vice president for communications, the new website is not merely a redesign, but a complete rebuild of the old website. Cliatt also explained that old website was nearing the end of a typical life of a website and was not meeting the new needs of the College.

“The old F&M website was at the end of the typical life of a website, as changes in technology have established a best practice of refreshing a website or completing a wholesale redesign every two to four years — depending on existing functionality,” said Cliatt.

“The design of the former F&M website redesign was completed in 2009, based on an assessment of needs — and available technology — dating back now more than seven years.”

Cliatt continued, explaining that people tend to use the internet differently today than they did a few years ago, and that people expect a completely different experience from a college website.

“Incorporating social media and other forms of interactivity was in its infancy seven years ago, and we had not yet become the YouTube generation that we are now,” Cliatt said.

Cliatt noted that one of the major changes to the College’s website is that the website now presents information organized according to the services that F&M provides and is important because it is how students and faculty and staff get information about everything that is not academically related.

“Each department or office in the old site had a web page, and then on that page, there were lists of the services that office or department provided,” she said. “For example, a student looking for information about shuttles in the old site would have to know that the Office of Auxiliary Services provides that service. Now, instead of expecting students to know that, a student can go to the website and Search for shuttle or navigate to Transportation Services and find everything they need to know about shuttles and other transportation options for the campus.”

In order to help create the best possible website, Cliatt organized a specific advisory group with representatives from all across campus, including: admission and financial aid; advancement, including alumni relations and advancement services; communications; the office of the dean of the College; the college houses; the faculty; the office of the Provost; students, who were appointed through a campus-wide open call for applicants; finance and administration, including the office of the registrar and auxiliary services; the office of student and post-graduate development; the office of international programs; and professional staff, who were also appointed as at-large members through a campus-wide open call for applicants.

This advisory group selected the firm P’unk Ave of Philadelphia to design the site and do development work in connection with the office of communications and with technical support from the College’s Information Technology Services.

Senior Shira Kipnees is a staff writer. Her email is skipnees@fandm.edu.

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