VSU’s Web Content Manager John Bennett and Computer Support Specialist Kathy Sundin are excited about the launch of the new website and community feedback.
There were two sessions held Tuesday night to preview the new VSU website.
“If you’ve never been to VSU, you would never know our campus was so beautiful,” Bennett said. “That means we weren’t doing a very good job on the website.”
The new website features robust changes of interactivity and ease of navigation.
One major change is the server system upgrade from Adobe Contribute to Hannon Hill Cascade.
Contribute and Cascade are both content management systems that help VSU web managers publish departmental webpages to the VSU website.
With the addition of Cascade, VSU’s server will correct typos and errors for instructors’ pages, make it easier for professors to publish and delete information online for students to see and allow File Transfer Protocol, or FTP, access to instructors on their own sites.
The renovated homepage features the return of the academic “Valdosta State University” logo with the West Hall dome in the background and a video during the first week of the site as an introduction for students and others on how to use the new features.
SGA President Ryan Baerwalde and faculty members are featured speakers on the introduction.
Bennett said few people come to the website and are interested in reading its content, but the new site will change that.
Four buttons known as “Audience Segmentation” will bring the most important links on campus to prospective and current students as well faculty and alumni in one click.
Campus-wide emergency alerts will be featured in yellow at the top of the homepage as well as being sent to student, staff and faculty emails and cell phones.
Any alerts featured on the homepage will be taken down the moment the threat has disappeared.
The global navigation feature will display links about VSU, athletics, admissions and campus life.
There will be a social media scoreboard that allows every VSU organization to have their site visible in one domain on the website.
For now, until all are added, the scoreboard only features official VSU social media sites managed by Bennett.
Organizations can email Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org to have their sites added.
Along with these features, an A-Z directory will direct you to every department on campus instantly. However, department pages will not look any different until completed system updates synchronize within the next 12-18 months.
The VSU news link now has three categories to make it easier to search for athletics, campus events and official news on campus.
New ad buttons will be added to allow departments to post upcoming events and other important schedule notes to each department page for students to see.
Also, a brand new interactive map in the footer of the homepage will help students navigate on campus by seeing the street view of their destinations.
Sundin navigated and narrated how the new site worked as professors, faculty and students watched the preview on Tuesday night.
“The site looks beautiful,” Deborah Davis, director of VSU archives said at the preview. “My only concern is how they will convert the 7,000 archived videos, text and presentations we have in the library to the new server.”
A feedback button will be also on the site to allow users to directly tell Bennett, Sundin and the rest of IT any praises or problems they have with the site.
“We encourage users to provide as much feedback as possible,” Bennett said. “We’re already getting new and good ideas from everyone and are considering them. We’re doing our best to create something that is satisfying to the community.”