2011 UNCG Web Site Upgrade

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 by Debbie Schallock under General, Integrated Marketing. Tags: ,

Beginning Oct. 3, 2011, the home page and top-tier of the UNCG website will have a new look. A new header and footer will go live on upper-level pages, and the home page will be wider, better organized, and feel more current.  This is the first important step toward making our site more up-to-date.

As many will remember, the current version of the university web site was created in 2006. Minor updates have been made to design and content on the home page and top tier pages, but no major changes have been made in more than five years.  In the meantime, units across campus have continued to evolve their own pages. As a result, the university web site lacks cohesion of branding and navigation.

In response to these issues, the Internet Oversight Committee (IOC), University Relations (UR) and Information Technology Services (ITS) began a conversation in the spring of 2010 about how to address an upgrade to the UNCG site.  Given ongoing budget reductions throughout the university, we worked under the assumption that there would be no funding available for the purchase or support of a content management system (CMS) and improvements would need to be made using existing resources (funding and staff).  With this in mind, we maintained the current home page navigation so that the process could move forward more quickly and goals remain within reach.

In summer of 2010, the IOC approved a new header and footer design, as well as an update to the UNCG homepage.  These changes were designed to address:
·      Visual unification of the entire site as a result of stronger use of university colors and branding elements
·      Consistent use of upper level navigation
·      Wider pages – from 600 pixels to 960 pixels
·      Addition of a “search this site” function to the search box
·      Addition of the uncg connect icon to the footer to distinguish university and unit level social media
·      Improved flexibility in home page navigation with the addition of secondary layer of navigation above the footer

All of our work has been informed by the efforts of the IMSC Committee.  IOC plans for the university website were presented to IMSC last spring, and the committee endorsed the improvements.  The IMSC and IOC committees share four members and the two groups have been working on parallel tracks.

The brand guidelines and creative expressions being crafted by IMSC will apply to the content areas of UNCG web pages (among other communications) and the upcoming brand guide website will provide additional information and more tools.  These guidelines and tools will help campus units flesh out the content of their sites according to our new brand standards.  While we hope units will update the header and footer as soon as they can, it would be smart to wait for these new brand standards before redesigning or rewriting the content area of your site.

For campus developers, updated Unit Website Requirements and HTML assets and templates are being provided to the campus from the IOC website. http://ioc.uncg.edu/ The deadline for compliance is August 2012.

By Lyda Adams Carpen

IOC co-chair and IMSC committee member