Team # 986 -- Eberly College of Science Web Advisory Team
Eberly College of Science
ObjectiveTo redesign the Eberly College of Science website (science.psu.edu) and address issues from our migration into a content management system, Plone, in November 2009.
The redesign process started in March 2010 when we formed a committee to meet on a regular basis to guide the development of the new website. The committee members, who were selected from areas throughout the college, were tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Provide feedback, opinions and ideas for the college website.
- Provide the perspective of their audience (end users).
- Solicit feedback from a variety of users about specific questions we were trying to answer.
As a team, we worked to develop the information for the homepage, identify the global navigation, design and improve the layout, and determine the information architecture. After a few rounds of this, we decided that we had a working version. We then conducted both formal and informal user testing, and then revised the design again.
The issue that prompted the team to form and the project to take place was the state that our current website had been in. It was not easy to update the content, it was not aesthetically appealing, it was disorganized, it wasn't very functional, and it wasn't a good first impression for web users when they visited the site.
Our objectives were to redesign the site so that it was more organized, appealing, and user friendly; to migrate our content into a content management system, and to have the projected wrapped by fall 2010. We met all of our goals for the project.
- Joe DeLuca, Co-Leader
- Tara Immel, Co-Leader
- Rachel Andrews, Member
- James Broyles, Member
- Barbie Collins, Member
- Dan Constantino, Member
- Tess Crossen, Member
- Kristen Devlin, Member
- Murali Haran, Member
- Nicole Hurlbutt, Member
- Adrian Weaver, Member
- Michael Zeman, Member
Results Achieved to Date
We were effectively able to redesign our website, make it more user friendly to both internal and external audiences, and finish the project within 6 months.
We measured our progress by setting goals at each meeting for what needed to be done and which decisions needed to be debated and decided, then had those tasks due for the next meeting. By setting these objectives each meeting, we were able to stay on track and reach our goal of completing the redesign within six months. We also created a collaboration where team members could contribute thoughts and ideas and review meeting minutes. In addition, Joe and Tara sent regular emails to keep team members informed of activity throughout the process.
To ensure that the redesigned website met our goals, we did a series of user tests, which asked users - general public, students, faculty, staff, etc., to perform specific tasks, and then provide feedback about ease of use, aesthetics, and functionality.
While we were able to finish the redesign in October 2010 and the web team no longer regularly meets, many people throughout the college continue to maintain and continuously improve their areas of the site. We also plan to continue user testing periodically to ensure we still have an effective and user-friendly site. We realize a website as big as the College of Science requires constant care and revision, therefore we will continue to improve the site, take advantage of the latest technologies, and make sure we are following established best practices while maintaining accessibility and adhering to web standards.
The college redesign was the first step in an effort to provide a more unified web presence across the college. Tara and Joe are currently consulting with the college's seven departments to redesign their sites as well.
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