With more than 18 months of planning, developing, surveys, revision, and production, Anderson University announced the launch of a redesign to the public Web site (www.anderson.edu ) effective Aug. 14. Chris Williams, director of University Communications, and Julie Tuttle, webmaster, had the challenge of creating a site that not only had to mirror the times of today’s technology, but also to look four to five years into the future.
“In the 10 years I have been at AU, electronic communications has come a long way,” said Williams. “This site is by far the most dynamic and information driven than any redesign before.”
Williams states this redesign came at a time when “technology and communications have exploded.” As a result the development of the site required a lot of thought and input from many departments and offices across the campus. According to Williams, the main goal of the Web site is to be a helpful tool for prospective students. In addition, the site needs to serve as a good resource for alumni and friends of the university.
Lending expertise and support through the entire redesign process was Brainstorm, an Indianapolis firm, which has served as a partner with the university since 1998.
“Bart Caylor [an AU graduate and a principal at Brainstorm], has been instrumental in bringing together his team at Brainstorm with the AU Web team to produce this attractive and interactive new site,” said Tuttle.
Realizing the need for further support for the area, Stefanie Leiter was hired after graduating from AU in 2005 in a new position as Web editor. While Williams and Tuttle focused on much of the production, schedule, and planning, Leiter’s position centers her attention on molding the current content of the site and fitting it into the new redesign.
“I was honored to be given a chance to give back to AU in such a wide capacity during the redesign,” said Leiter. “Coming in was a challenge because of the amount of content and edits that needed changing, but I feel it was worth the effort when users view the new site.”
Some of the redesign newest features include: RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology, where public users can receive the latest AU news as soon as it is posted; student ambassador blogs, where prospective students can read an honest diary of what life is like as an AU student; a Discover portal, a new area providing users with updated facts about AU, testimonials, and video clips from the AU DVD; updated campus tour, new 360 degrees panoramic photos; new campus calendar; and photo albums, to capture major events during the academic year.
“The new design provides for expanded features including enhanced video clips of A.U. events,” said Tom Bruce, Executive Director of University Relations & Alumni Affairs. “Every area has been reviewed and there is additional content for alums, parents and prospective students, to name a few. The web team has done a marvelous job in making the site cutting-edge and content rich.”
Anderson University is a private, four-year, Christian liberal arts institution of approximately 2,800 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, education and theology.