The home page at fredonia.edu has a new look and feel, sporting a responsive design and mobile-friendly layout, driven by images and stories.
Storytelling was a huge priority when creating the new home page. Content can be pulled into the new site and onto its grid layout that showcases an eclectic collection of Fredonia glimpses. Stories can come from anywhere on the Internet including the Campus Report, Twitter and Instagram, student blogs and other media outlets.
“We wanted more visual content front and center,” noted Fredonia Assistant Webmaster/Social Media Manager Nick Gunner. “Our campus produces so much amazing social media and news content that we felt we needed a home page that reflected that energy.”
Along with telling the campus story, the site also meets daily needs of current students, faculty and staff. Important links for students — things like email, Angel and Your Connection — are right at the top and menus are broken up into easy-to-navigate categories. A larger search bar lets users search the site without leaving the front page. For emergencies or important announcements, a pop-up notification system has been incorporated.
“The notification system hooks into Twitter, letting important warnings or notifications travel faster by harnessing the crowd,” Gunner noted.
Behind the scenes, the new home page is easy for web and content administrators to update on any computer or mobile device. Multiple staff will update it with fresh content on a regular basis. The effectiveness of the new site is due to several open source tools that were used for its development. Not only does it harness open source technology, but the site itself is open source, with all the code residing on Github (https://github.com/SUNYFredonia/homepage), a social coding website.
“Who knows…a Computer Science or New Media student might come up with some amazing idea and work it into our home page,” Gunner explained. “If we like it enough, we can use it. Talk about real-world learning!”
The site was built with an agile development philosophy, meaning it will never be “finished.” Rather, it will constantly be reiterated and made better, based on usage data and feedback. Gunner noted, “I can’t wait to see what the home page will look like in a year.”
To offer suggestions for the new site, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Fredonia’s Github site.
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