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Full CSU-Pueblo website redesign to be implemented next fall

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A screenshot of the home page of CSU-Pueblo's website. A full website redesign is currently underway.
A screenshot of the home page of CSU-Pueblo’s website. A full website redesign is currently underway.

The CSU-Pueblo web redesign project is on track for implementation during the fall 2016 semester.

Some of the planned improvements include a revised calendar and a more effective news system. The aim is also to improve the functionality and overall structure of the website. The site will work on devices from smartphones and tablets to laptops and desktops.

Since the redesign of the Colorado State University-Pueblo website started in October last year, manager of the Instructional Technology department at CSU-Pueblo Adam Pocius and CSU-Pueblo lead web developer Lallo Vigil have been working closely with IT contractor Beacon Technologies.

Phase one of the three-phase process, which is nearing completion, included finalizing the strategic plan for the well anticipated project. The plan will be presented to President Lesley Di Mare and the web development committee within the coming weeks.

Phase two will involve the creation of a mock-up of the new site, as well as the implementation of certain design aspects.

The project has faced a few challenges since its start. Meetings had been scheduled between focus groups from CSU-Pueblo and the Beacon Technologies when a recent snow storm brought campus operations to a halt.

The team managed to reschedule some of the meetings and was also able to recruit students who reside on campus to participate in the focus groups.

“It worked out amazingly. We got a lot of great input from the student population about the direction they want to see the website go in,” Pocius said.

Staff and faculty members also participated in meetings, some of which were conducted online.

“Beacon was able to figure out what our university needs based on what we discussed with them, and all the different groups they met with,” Pocuis added. “They heard the same message from students, faculty and staff and we’ve been able to pull that together a good plan.”

The next step is focused on the content audit, which will take place across campus.

“We have over 5,000 pages on the site and we need all the content experts –people in different areas and division – to look over the content, consolidate it and refresh it,” he said.

Vigil and Pocius expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by students, faculty and staff in order to make the project feasible.

“We hear your concerns and we’re going to be addressing them with the new website,” Vigil said.

Feedback received from students indicated that they felt like the current site was not geared towards the student culture at CSU-Pueblo.

“We are looking at making the site more campus-centric by adding more pictures of the campus and highlights of events happening in real time to make it more student friendly,” Pocius said.

The team envisions the Email Digest, a centralized digest that contains information about events on campus that was implemented Aug. 12, will be based on news and event feed from the site, rather than a standalone email.

The team invites students to email them at webdev.csupueblo.edu about any issues  they experience with the current site.

Albeit on track and within the budget, the project needs more physical involvement from students. Various positions are available to students who are interested in work study or internship opportunities related to the project, including those with graphic design and writing background.

As part of their research, Pocius and Vigil attended sessions across campus in order to assess students’ opinions of CSU-Pueblo and found that the most prevalent theme was the university’s diverse culture.

“Focusing on that diversity and showing that off through the website is really important,” said Pocius, who thinks that the current website needs redesigned to represent this important aspect.

Another important goal of the project is to create more involvement between CSU-Pueblo and the surrounding community through highlighting the on-campus resources available to students.  Vigil commended the staff at Outdoor Pursuits for their proactivity in getting students involved in activities both in and outside Pueblo.

The team estimates that the entire redesign should be completed midway through the fall 2016 semester, barring unforeseen issues.