Kutztown University Launches New Website
KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University is excited to announce the launch of our brand-new website! Www.kutztown.edu features a new design and technology that improves the user experience.
The responsive design is mobile-friendly across all browsers and incorporates the university’s newly-developed brand.
Users will recognize several new design features that streamline content, such as the use of accordions that allow content to be expanded and contracted by the user; image carousels that allow users to scroll through masthead images and videos; and expanded use of photo galleries. Viewers will also see icons throughout the website to help them visually identify content.
“This is the culmination of a presidential initiative; one of the first things Dr. Hawkinson requested when he came here was to redesign the website,” said Josh Leiboff, director of Web and Digital Media. “The way we did it was to bring the website into the modern age of technology and make it responsive and mobile friendly. We’ve made it better for students, prospective students or any other user to use and we did so in a way that allows us to continue to build upon it and make it easier to use.”
A primary goal of the website redesign is to assist prospective students, as well as undeclared current students, in selecting the right major. To accomplish this goal, the team developed a program finder. This finder lets students search by categories and interests, as well as by all majors, minors and programs at the undergraduate and graduate/doctoral levels.
One of the most visible new features of the site is called K YOU, a play on the KU acronym. The spirit gold button on the top of every page opens to show D2L, email and MyKU links – three of the most used applications for students and employees.
“No longer will students need to go to a certain page to find the links for these high-traffic applications – they can get to them from anywhere on the site,” Leiboff said.
An improved search function, InSite Search, is built within the university’s Ingeniux Content Management System. An improved directory search function will help users find information easily.
The new website was a collaboration of several areas of campus. The core team included Leiboff and Kelly Smith, manager of Web Technology, from Marketing and Communications, as well as Chris Angelico and Dan Carroll, applications developers, Andy Mull, web integration manager, and Holly Fox, director, from Enterprise Software Development.
In addition, a committee that spanned all areas of campus and included faculty and staff members was also consulted, as were student focus groups for user testing. Assisting throughout the project was Pittsburgh-based BarkleyREI, an industry leader in the field.
The new website creation has required the largest collaborative effort on campus, as each department has contributed and will update its own information.
Developed completely in-house, Leiboff noted the sheer volume of work completed by the development team. The team can quickly create newer designs and flexible website management.
“Many times, schools will outsource the heavy lifting of development and design; but because we developed the website here, we have a better understanding and ability to keep it up-to-date as things change. We can react to any issues much quicker and focus on providing a great user experience,” Leiboff said.
Future additions and updates could include user customization in the KYOU area and people search. The next step is for the development team to watch the data, maps and search engine optimization as it comes in and enhance it to optimize user experiences.
“This is a two-year long project that’s coming to a close with this launch. Everyone has been involved, so the entire community should be proud,” Smith said.