On Valentine’s Day morning, the receiving area of the Syracuse University Bookstore in the lower level of the Schine Student Center was bustling. Fruit baskets lined one shelf. Other shelves held large bags called the Valentine’s Snack Attack—filled with cookies,…
University Redesigns Web Presence for Improved User Experience
Syracuse University unveiled today its redesigned and rearchitected website, www.Syracuse.edu, optimized to enhance user experience and highlight the University’s strengths. Informed by audience research, the new website includes easy-to-navigate pages, mobile-friendly views and a more powerful search function, along with a new, clean style and distinctive typeface.
The homepage is designed to draw visitors into the unique possibilities and academic experiences that make up Syracuse University—and explore further.
“We worked hard to capture the essence of Syracuse University—‘One University’—with all of its many facets that come together with a shared spirit,” says Nicci Brown, vice president of communications and chief marketing officer. “We want visitors to see our personality and discover what we have to offer.”
The redesign follows research into the most up-to-date user preferences, analytics, an examination of best practices on the web and of other higher education institutions and audience testing.
As part of the redesign, simplified navigation and a concise narrative directs visitors quickly to their next page destination. “It’s designed to be far more intuitive, to make it easier for site visitors to get where they want to go,” Brown says. In addition, the new and improved site search and A-Z site index serve as navigation tools for the Syracuse web presence.
The redesign, including site-mapping, architecture, design and development, was done by the University’s Office of Marketing and Communications through its Online Platforms team, with content assistance from the Philadelphia-based creative agency 160over90. But the work to transform the University’s web presence went campus wide.
“This has been a collaborative effort throughout the University. We’ve reached out to many people in the schools and colleges and offices around campus who’ve contributed to the work and the conversations about this redesign,” Brown says.
The redesign also introduces the University’s new signature typeface, Sherman. The Sherman typeface was originally created by famed type designer Frederic Goudy and gifted to the University by the family of publisher Frederick Sherman in the 1940s.
Other key elements of the new site are an improved search function and an emphasis on accessibility. The web team also worked to ensure that the design function was mobile friendly, with users on a variety of devices able to access information.
Another decision was to solely use “syracuse.edu” as the University’s domain name, folding in the second domain name used by the University previously, “syr.edu.” In addition to being more recognizable, the change will contribute to improved search engine optimization.
As the site was developed, a number of information sessions were held with various stakeholder groups on campus, including representatives from schools and colleges, information technology specialists, and communications and marketing personnel from across campus.
To assist those who work with University web pages and to drive consistency across the University’s web presence, web brand guidelines will be available and will highlight a recommended universal header and footer combination for use on web pages.
As the Syracuse.edu home site continues to evolve and keep up with and exceed best practices on the web, the campus community is encouraged to submit their feedback via a “submit feedback” form on the site.