The University of Tennessee recently re-designed their primary web pages. The new page design is very accessible, user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing and it’s optimized for search engines. Pages were coded using standards-based design techniques. Their use of cascading style sheets to “style” the homepage is gorgeous and accessible for users with visual impairments. Kudos to the University of Tennessee and the Office of Creative Services! They have truly created a “web 2.0” university website.
The Current Design
The current version of the UT Knoxville website was launched in February 2007. It was designed and is managed and maintained by the Office of Creative Services, with feedback and support from the campus-wide community of web developers.
Primary Goals of the Redesign
First, to bring the site into conformity with the recommendations of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), thereby making the UT Knoxville web presence much more accessible. Because it is “web standards” compliant, the site is also more flexible (it can be viewed more easily on handheld devices, for example) and more adaptable (minor site-wide design changes can now be made in seconds rather than days).
Second, to better leverage dynamic content through the use of RSS feeds and an events calendar. Breaking news and upcoming events are now targeted for specific audiences and automatically broadcast throughout the site.
Third, to improve navigation based upon data collected by tracking actual use of the site. The “Quick Links” displayed on many pages, for example, were selected by users of the UT site, who voted with their clicks in a virtual popularity contest.
Fourth, to better represent, visually, the vitality of life on the UT Knoxville campus. Collectively, the rotating spotlights at the top of each page represent a cross-section of the academic, cultural, social, and athletic accomplishments and opportunities offered by UT Knoxville’s community of students, faculty, and staff.
Fifth, to build a clear and compelling brand identity for the University of Tennessee to create a greater understanding of the role UT Knoxville plays in helping the state and its citizens thrive in the local, regional, and global environment.