Arizona.edu Update - April 2018

April 25, 2018

From: "Proudfoot, Tony - (tproudfoot)" <tproudfoot@email.arizona.edu>
Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 6:57 PM
Subject: A New www.arizona.edu 

Dear Colleagues,

Later tonight you will find a new www.arizona.edu. The UA Marketing and Communication team is excited to present a new approach to our web environment. I could go on and on about the new philosophy. But let me boil it down to this: it is a more flexible website architecture that will allow us to offer a current view of university life with dynamic story packages throughout the year.

In this first iteration, you’ll find student stories focused on collaboration and interdisciplinarity designed to inspire students and assist with yield. Early in the summer we’ll evolve to what students need to do to plan for a great fall. We will also focus on faculty, research and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Because web technologies have matured, web designers and developers from across campus have helped us build a dynamic infrastructure (see UA Quickstart), and we have taken a more sense-of-place approach, the website will play an instrumental role in helping us attract excellent faculty and students and increase preference for the University of Arizona.

Please join me in thanking our partners in UITS, the Disability Resource Center (DRC), UA Digital, UA Creative, Brand Advisory Team, College of Engineering Marketing, and Eller’s McGuire Center who all have been crucial in getting the site launched.

Below my signature you will find additional features of the redesign for the truly curious.

We will continue to iterate on the design over time, so your feedback is welcome, that’s the advantage of our new philosophy. More improvements to come, but we believe this is a very strong start.

Sincerely,

Tony Proudfoot

Interim Senior Vice President,

Marketing and Communications

Associate Vice President,

Marketing & Brand Management

 

The University of Arizona

 p   520.621.8747  ::  c  765.716.4661

tproudfoot@email.arizona.edu

 

Content Enhancements

  • A philosophical shift to evolving and contemporary homepage content throughout the year.
  • The homepage (screenshot) is no longer a static series of boxes that must be filled with content, regardless of the current story cycle.
  • Instead, we've adopted a dynamic and calendar-minded approach
    • We'll be telling the relevant stories of the moment to the most relevant audiences. For example. at launch — as the application deadline approaches and enrollment decisions are being made — we'll convey to prospective students that this is a student-centric institution that prides itself on experiential learning
    • Over the summer, we'll not only focus on "how to prepare for a great freshman year" but also faculty, highlighting the great research associated with Arizona
    • Other examples might include featuring alumni around homecoming, welcome back students and so on
  • Admissions Overview (screenshot) and How to Apply (screenshot) pages 
    • Reduced clutter to better direct prospective students to information about Arizona and the admissions process 
  • Restructured Leadership page (screenshot)
  • Elsewhere, content has been cleaned up and imagery updated

Accessibility

  • Screen reader improvements for the main navigation menu and alphabetical majors, colleges & schools listings for users with disabilities
  • Improved landmarks to better define areas of content to screen readers

User Testing & Analytics

  • The new site is built on a foundation of data. It is structure so we may further test how users are interacting with the site and pave the way to more evidence-based decision making 
  • We have already made technical, design and content decisions based on user testing with usertesting.com 
    • Example: Users explicitly called out a lack of students on the old homepage. We addressed that directly with content

Built with the future in mind

  • Because the new www.arizona.edu is built on UA Quickstart, further improvements can be expected 6 to 8 times per year rather than every three years 
    • UA Quickstart allows more flexible content production — plus a scalable and sustainable platform for bug fixes and feature improvements
    • This approach enables the entire campus to adopt the new features, navigation, and code base so that colleges and units can spin up clean, mobile responsive, brand aligned, search-engine friendly sites faster than ever before. This is the key to a coherent experience for our users that is managed in a decentralized environment.
  • Future improvements on the roadmap include but are not limited to:
    • Mobile and desktop navigation improvements 
    • Design upgrades for full width mediabackground wrappers and landing grids
    • Constant accessibility improvements thanks to close partnership with DRC
    • An improved student life section and continual improvements to the admissions overview and how to apply pages
    • User experience improvements based on analytics, event tracking and extended user testing
    • Rethinking the site header to better make use of space — while maintaining calls to action
    • Upgrading from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8