Students heading to Portland State’s Web site to register forclasses or look up information on departments will find that thesite looks markedly different from the minimalist green and purpledesign it had a week ago.
The new site, with eight colorful drop-down menus, campus newsand events, and professor profiles all packed onto the main page isdesigned to put as much information about the university aspossible right up front where people can see it. The designersfocused on streamlining the design and making clear pathways tofinding the information users need without being weighed down bythe frills, according to Portland State’s webmaster NateAngell.
“We wanted to provide easy pathways to things rather than wastespace or download time with pretty things,” Angell said. “Somepeople might see the new site as less sophisticated than the oldone, but we wanted to have the design take a back seat to thestories and happenings that make Portland State such an intriguingand complex place.”
Web sites for financial aid, registration and records, studentadvising and the College of Engineering and Computer science havealso received the same design treatment in order to create aconsistency of feel and ease site navigation.
“Far more than a redesign of just the relatively small top-levelPSU site, this is the beginning of an entirely new system that canintegrate all online resources at PSU,” Angell said.
PSU’s Web site is the “virtual front door” for the university,according to Angell, and is part of daily interaction with theuniversity for thousands of students and faculty members as well asprospective students and professors from other schools. The Website is often people’s first contact with the university, andAngell said he hopes the site can foster deeper involvement withPSU.
The redesign cost less than $7,000, a sum that Angell, who hasbeen full-time webmaster for PSU for two years, calls a “miserlybudget” for a site serving and institution as large as PSU.
The new design is the result of months of collaboration betweenPortland State’s Office of Marketing and Communications and thePortland State Web Advisory Council, a group that represents everyschool, college and major administrative office on campus. Studentprogrammers from the College of Engineering and Computer Scienceassisted in the developing the content management system, andStudent Ambassadors took the new site for a test drive and gavesuggestions.
One part of the new look that is still in the works is a newstudent portal called “My Portland State” where students can log inand utilize university resources from a central secure environmentonline.
Angell said he hopes students will think of “My Portland State”as their home page for Portland State and use the built-in feedbacklink to let the Web-builders know what is useful to them and whatelse they would like to see in the new site.
While some students might be jarred by the site’s dramaticallydifferent look, Angell asks students to be patient and give it achance.
“Take some time to get used to the new site before you judgeit,” Angell said.
To give feedback or make suggestions for the new site visithttp://www.pdx.edu/students.html