As part of the program to develop a consistent Portland State identity, the school website has been redesigned to fit the new visual scheme of the university. The effort also aims to make it easier for students, faculty and community members to navigate Portland State online.
The changes to the website (www.pdx.edu) have been primarily aesthetic, with a newly designed header and footer. The header now showcases photographs from around Portland State. A different picture is rotated on display each time the homepage is opened.
"Photography was chosen because PSU has an interesting, vibrant campus," said Nathan Angell, director of web communications at Portland State.
Links granting access to key information for student and faculty remain at the header, as well as a place to search the PSU web system. A tool bar with the words "I want to-" on a tab is meant to provide quick access to services like webmail, registration and student records.
Another new visual aspect of the site, as well as of the identity campaign, is the use of school colors on university media. "There’s an emphasis on green and white to the degree that colors are used as an accent," said Angell.
Currently, not all university websites have been changed to display the new layout. Angell said the goal is for all web pages associated with the university to use the same template, with the same menu functions, by the end of the academic year. This will allow not only for a cohesive appearance, but the ability to access other main pages, including the homepage, from any PSU-related website, Angell said.
Many of the Portland State websites were created with Saga, a system used to publish and manage websites. The websites for 45 key universities that use this system will all be changed to the new template quite easily in the next two weeks. Websites not in the system will take longer to convert to the uniform design.
While most student groups and organizations are not directly associated with the university system, the new template is available for student group use online at www.pdx.edu/ucomm. It is preferred that groups use the new PSU logo when referring to the university, Angell said.
The campaign for Portland State’s identity is headed by the university’s President’s Task Force for Integrated Marketing, which is made up of members from virtually all departments. The identity project has been in the works for roughly two years. According to the University Communications website, the new visual identity of PSU includes "new tools – key messages, logo, typefaces, design templates, graphic standards – that establish a comprehensive and consistent presence for the University." These things are not limited to online media, but are being applied to all materials and media that represent PSU.
Web communications, the department in charge of the website as well as aspects of community relations, is a newly prominent component of integrated marketing at the university. Only in the past few years have more funds been allocated for the department’s growth. Angell, a PSU faculty member since 2002, was the first full-time web communications staff member hired by the university.