Transy embraces digital age with new website designs
September 8, 2011 Leave a comment
by James Huddleston
Despite being the nation’s 16th oldest university, Transylvania is anything but old-fashioned.
The start of a new semester marks the premiere of several newly designed websites that aim both to improve accessibility for those inside the Transy community and to positively promote the university to those outside of it, especially potential new students.
The school’s main website, http://transy.edu, and the athletics site were revamped, while a new site for The Rambler was created.
“We wanted the (main) site to look as clean and crisp as possible,” said Mariana Schochat, web development manager for Transylvania. “There is very little on the homepage. Instead, you have a basic overview of what the site contains and links to the information you want.”
Sara Emmons, associate vice president for communications and public relations, also commented on the rationale behind the site’s new, more streamlined design.
“People don’t stay on a website very long,” Emmons said. “It must be easy to navigate.”
The new design reflects a “layers of complexity” model, where links to more detailed information are accessed via drop-down menus, rather than being visible as soon as one loads the site, said Shochat.
While all of these changes contribute to the site’s overall new image, the primary focus was on the admissions section. Brad Goan, vice president for enrollment and dean of admissions, spoke to the need to connect with potential new students in a way that they are already used to — electronically.
“What we hope the (new admissions) site will do is tell the story of the Transy experience,” Goan said. “We still use traditional means of recruitment — visiting high schools, college fairs, sending out printed material — but can now supplement all of that with the website. Students that may not be able to meet with us in person can still find out a lot of things online by visiting the new site, ‘liking’ us on Facebook or following us on Twitter. … Before, a potential student had to raise their hand, so to speak, and let us know they were interested by requesting information. Now, the information is there for them already.”
In fact, Goan noted, 30 percent of the students who applied to Transy last year did so without ever directly expressing an interest in attending.
Attracting new students was not only an interest to admissions, but also the athletics department. The new athletics website, http://transysports.com, was designed with the goal of capturing the interest of potential student-athletes.
“The athletics department is an exciting, dynamic place,” said Sports Information Director Glen Osborne, “and we wanted the website to reflect that. … The old site was very stagnant and boring. Now, we can change the homepage several times a day so that you never see the same thing twice. We have even included a few fun frills here and there, like the (University of Kentucky) versus Transy basketball game countdown counter. Our goal is to keep people interested, to keep them coming back to see what we’re up to.”
Not to be left out of the technological reforms being made across campus, The Rambler also established a new online presence for itself at the start of the semester: http://transyrambler.com. In addition to being able to read the most current issue of the weekly paper, visitors can find archived issues in their original, printed format.
The Rambler has also added a social media platform, “Ramble On,” where readers are encouraged to share and comment using sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Despite the effort that went into giving the university a digital facelift for the new academic year, Schochat still sees room for improvement.
“This is only phase one,” Schochat said. “It is not a completed work, but an ongoing project.”