Wonderful isn’t it? We’ve got a photo, some text, a few links. What more could you ask for in a web site?
The reality is, RIT University News has a mission. As the primary link between RIT wider audiences (including the media), we have a responsibility to communicate the values and vision that RIT embodies.
What this comes down to (or more accurately, what I’m mixed up in), is tools. Newspapers, newsletters, VNRs, editorials, blogs, podcasts, tattoos, etc. Each of them more or less effective based on their execution and audience.
What we’re doing right now is re-executing the site. We’re making content easier to access, re-organizing information by freshness/utility, and putting on a face that will better represent RIT’s identity. It’s an effort split between Mike Saffran, Paul Stella, Bob Finnerty, and I. It’s happening right now.
1. The current site doesn’t reflect our brand
We have a blue/grey palette, and we’re changing to a more tigrish orange/brown scheme. Good move, eh? In addition to the color scheme upgrade, we had the wonderful Jeff Arbegast assemble a layout for us, and it looks great.
2. We want to attract move readers
Sure, we get almost a thousand visitors a day. Statistics have shown that a good majority of them are interested in some of the less news-oriented content (specifically, the academic calendar). We’d like to have the public actually read our news releases, subscribe to RSS feeds, and check out the latest issue of News & Events for a better reason than ‘my name’s in this issue!’ We’re making sure the freshest and best news we have to offer is featured clearly.
3. The competition
At University News, we’ve got so much to do that we barely have time to acknowledge that there are other campuses working just as hard as we are to get a good word out. By redesigning our web site, being proactive about new media, and re-establishing RIT’s journalistic presence on the web, we’re getting leg up on the guys who are still using Microsoft Frontpage extensions to deliver their news.
4. Re-organize, re-structure, re-purpose
The folks here to a bang-up job of producing articles, releases, and all the rest. Tons and tons of it isn’t being properly represented on the web. We have publications online like the University Magazine that are only a shadow of their printed selves. Blog posts, event coverage, photography, an area for journalists, great News & Events stories. All of them satellites of the RIT University News home page. It’s time that we take all of this scattered goodness and combine it under a single banner.
5. The current site doesn’t reflect where we’re heading, only where we’ve been
We are on a path to something better. I’m not afraid to say that RIT’s web presence is not top-notch. The only reason I say this is because there are some things in the works that will turn this statement around. With any luck (and of course, hours upon hours of coding and tweaking), University News will lead RIT to a new standard of presence on the web.
So there you have it ladies & gentleman. There are a host of other reasons to redesign a web site, but I think these are the most relevant and succinct among them.