Colgate Website Redesign Planned for 2012-2013

Morgan Giordano


By the start of the 2012-13 school year, Colgate’s website will get a makeover that will make more streamlined and a trailblazer in university websites.

“Websites have a three to four year life span. The last Colgate website update was in 2007. This is a good time for us to think criti­cally about this. We want our website to be user-friendly, gorgeous and a different experi­ence. We want it to stand out and push the edge of the envelope, while still be easy to use,” Director of Web Content Tim O’Keeffe said.

Information and feedback about the current website was gathered in multiple ways. Four campus forums were sent out, as well as a sur­vey on the website. 60 responses were gathered from parents, prospective students, alumni, fac­ulty and current students. 10 high school seniors and 10 high school juniors were also asked to perform a usability test and give feedback on the current website. Praise for the Colgate website’s photographs always came up.

“The [current website] does test very well. We are coming from a question of strength. We can take advantage of the changes in the last four to five years,” Vice President of Commu­nications Debra Townsend said. “We want to emphasize the liberal arts education and convey the real strengths of Colgate, such as academics, study abroad, Division I sports and more.”

One major element that will be made avail­able on the new website will be adding a current students page. This page will include things like dining menus and the registrar’s information. The website serves for the outside now, and the hope is to make pages for focus groups within.

Another group that will benefit from the web­site makeover is alumni. All of what is available to them will be made easily known. The Alumni Council is helping provide input for this plan.

“We want to accentuate our loyal alumni who are successful and reaching back. We have a lot to show off there,” Townsend said.

“It is very early in the process…we just se­lected a company to work with us and we are at the point of building the site map,” O’Keeffe said. Currently they are trying to hone in on key aspects that they want to develop more. The communications committee reached out to 12 firms to design the website. Seven responded and three were brought to campus. The firms took a tour with the tour guides and two seniors and two freshmen to get a sense of Colgate. On January 12, Colgate signed a firm called Wall-to-Wall Studios that is based out of Pittsburgh and Honolulu.

Another major aspect that will differ from the 2007 to the 2012 website is responsive design. The site will scale down automatically so that it may look beautiful on smart phones and tablets. The site will recognize what device from which you are looking at it, which will be included by Wall-to-Wall. The mobile website with shortcuts will remain available as well.

Funding was secured to bring a recent graduate Jason Kammerdiener ’10 back to campus as the web content specialist who will help develop the pages for all departments and keep them up to date. He will be able to design the website with students’ concerns in mind.

The new website hopes to serve a high school sophomore exploring college admissions, a 90-year-old alumni and everyone in between.

Contact Morgan Giordano at [email protected]