EKU Scores an “A” on Newly Designed Web Presence
Eastern’s newly designed website, www.eku.edu, earned a near-perfect score from a video blogger who reviews higher education websites nationwide.
Nick DeNardis, associate director of web communications at Wayne State University and a staff writer at .eduGuru, a higher education marketing and web development blog, critiques sites from the point of view as a first-time visitor, judging the design, information architecture and underlying code of the sites.
The review gives EKU’s new design an “A” with an overall score of 284 points out of a possible 300, rating the site highest on its visuals. His complete video review can be seen at his EDU Checkup blog, educheckup.com/2010/08/27/eastern-kentucky-university-episode-184.
“Eastern Kentucky University knocked it out of the park with its recent design,” DeNardis said. “The texture and colors used on the site make the page feel like a destination instead of just another web page. The images used were vibrant and their colors integrated well into the overall design. Not all of their departments have adopted the new template yet, but the ones that did are easy to navigate and have plenty of information about each program.”
Doug Cornett, manager of creative services in the Division of Information Technology, said considerable thought and effort preceded the re-design of the homepage and web presence.
“On a tight timeline, we have been working with a wide cross-section of campus since March to develop this iteration of the page,” he said. “It was a collaborative and coordinated effort to develop a web system for EKU that is user friendly and allows the end users to concentrate on their content.
“That is the heart of a content management system (CMS) for the web. It eliminates many of the technical roadblocks of web development. A CMS allows the people closest to, and most knowledgeable about, their discipline or area to contribute meaningful content.”
Nearly 74,000 unique visitors viewed the EKU home page in the first four days after its unveiling, and the response has been positive, Cornett noted.
“Our focus is student recruitment and retention,” he said, “and I think a summation of the responses that we have received is that the web page is visually attractive with a clean layout that facilitates that focus. We will continue to refine and develop our web presence as it is an important communication avenue for the recruitment and retention of students.”
EKU’s web team is developing a training schedule and plans, within the next 24 months, to “bring as much of the campus as we can into the new CMS system. By creating a unified look and voice on the web, we hopefully can contribute in a significant way to the overall strategic goals of the University.”