The Ole Miss webpage received over 1 million hits in August, and with all that traffic, it’s no wonder why the webpage developers wanted to improve the site.
“The updates were necessary to make a cleaner and more polished look, making it easier for people who are not familiar with the school to find out more about it,” Kathy Gates, chief information officer at the university, said. “it was a specific recommendation from a professional marketing firm in Nashville.”
Last spring, the design team for OleMiss.edu ruffled some feathers when they changed the layout of the website. The site is the school’s most valuable resource for homework, communication, directions and campus information. When links were moved, portals became harder to find and people became very frustrated.
“It was a struggle for a lot of people, it was a big change and change is hard,” Gates said.
Kinsey Schwartz, a junior at the university, was not happy when the updates first arrived.
“That’s where you go when you need information. So not being able to find what I needed and having to learn all over again how to use everything was annoying.”
Robby Seitz, webmaster of the university, says that the updates have actually made the site easier to use, once you get used to them. He points to the relocation of MyOleMiss, Blackboard, the directory and campus map links, which are now at the bottom of the webpage.
“The advantages of having the utility links down at the page, is that when you go to a departmental page they will still be there at the bottom.”
Both Gates and Seitz say that the changes for the site were designed to make the university more marketable.
“We’re really talking to ourselves more than we’re taking to the world, and yet the world sees the website.” said Seitz.
The vast majority of site visitors, about 97 percent, are located in the United States, visitors from other countries, including India, China, the United Kingdom and Canada, make up the other three percent. Thirty-two percent of these users are also first-time visitors.
One of the updates that Gates and Seitz are most excited about is the page’s emphasis on photos. Produced by a photography group lead by Robert Jordan, Gates says the university’s photography group is a strength of the university that they really wanted to showcase.
Schwartz says now is a good time for the university to showcase itself.
“People are going to start looking (Ole Miss) up a lot more, especially since we just beat Texas. When they click that link you want people to see the real Ole Miss and how awesome we are.”
–Carolyn Smith, journalism student, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
–You can email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org