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FGCU website to get a new look

(EN Photo / Taylor Crehan)

After a year and a half of analyzing software, gathering the opinion of students, faculty and staff and working with web designers, a prototype of FGCU’s new website was revealed on Tuesday, April 25.

FGCU faculty and staff gathered in Cohen Center 213 to get a sneak peak of the new site, learn more information about it and the process of changing it.

Several audience members were content editors, or people who have access to updating certain pages of the website.

“You’re not seeing the finished site by any means today,” Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications Deborah Wiltrout said to the audience. “We still have a long way to go, but we wanted to keep you informed.”

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Wiltrout, along with Jeffrey Garner, FGCU’s Director of Digital Communication, presented information to the crowd. Amanda Putnik, the student representative on the design team, was also in attendance.

Wiltrout and Garner compacted information and screenshots of the new website onto a PowerPoint.

Taped along a wall were printed screenshots of the design of the new website, including prototypes of the home page.

Wiltrout said that content editors will receive training with the new website when it is updated.

Wiltrout said that has been building up over the past 20 years, and was originally designed solely for faculty and staff to “find the information they needed when they needed it.”

She went on to explain that there are several things wrong with FGCU’s current website, including the information on it that has collected over the years.

It currently has 60,000 pages connected to it. Wiltrout thinks that the pages are too much.

“A lot of these really aren’t great content,” she said.

Wiltrout said that due to Florida Sunshine Laws, some faculty members are afraid to get rid of things, and that’s affecting the site’s overall look.

“There’s no consistency in the look and the feel, so that’s a problem,” Wiltrout said.

She also said that the website isn’t compliant with current American Disabilities Act standards, nor does it transfer well on mobile devices.

“We must be ADA compliant, so we have to go through these changes,” Wiltrout said.

The new site’s target audience will be prospective undergraduate and graduate students, FGCU alumni and members of the local community.

Garner said that he thinks the current site needs to be re-vamped because it’s old fashioned.

“When people come to out site, that first impression that people see of us is that we’re really old fashioned,” Garner said.

During the year and a half that the design team, which consists of 19 members, worked on updating the site, several things went into play.

Garner said that part of the time was spent dilating the current software used on the site and deciding whether or not they needed to continue using that software.

“The answer was resoundingly no,” Garner said.

The process of choosing a new software system was “a very strategic decision across every piece and part,” according to Garner.

The design team will begin to roll out new pages of the site come summer 2017.

“What we’re going to do is strategically release different sections of the site based on importance,” Garner said.

Garner has a lot of faith in the new website and thinks it will change FGCU for the better.

“I’ve had this hope since the beginning that the new site not only changes the experience of the users, but I think that it’s going to re-energize the faculty and staff so they care a lot more about maintaining the content,” Garner said.

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