December 02, 2009

SIUC launches newly designed home page

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Hey, something is different!

Those familiar with the Southern Illinois University Carbondale main Web page may have noticed the changes already.

SIUC launched a newly designed home page on Monday -- one that highlights some new features and also makes it easier to find information, but one which retains enough continuity with what was familiar that regular site browsers will find their way around as easily as ever.

Mike Ruiz, University Communications director, noted that updating the SIUC Web site is an ongoing and continual process. However, the new look involved a major overhaul.

“People notice when we do a major redesign,” he said. “But this isn’t just cosmetic. We are trying to draw people’s attention to some new features.”

Here are some of the new features:

• Student blogs -- Nine undergraduate SIUC students, representing different programs and colleges on campus, blog about daily life on campus, giving prospective students a sneak peek at the SIUC experience.

• Expanded video offerings -- Video has been part of the main page before, but a new video player makes viewing the film clips easier and more convenient. Colleges, departments and programs on campus may also submit videos. Contact Janet Douglas at or 618/453-2821.

• SIUCmobile -- coming soon! Applications for Web-enabled mobile devices include SIUC Maps, SIUC Events, SIUC News, SIUC Photos, SIUC Videos and SIUC Athletics. The popular “People Finder” is a planned add-on as well.

“We created alternate paths to information,” said Janet Douglas, a University Communications associate director who oversees the Web Services unit. Some paths are audience-based, with buttons labeled “Prospective students,” or “Faculty & Staff,” for example. Other paths are subject-oriented, with buttons labeled “Admissions” or “Academics,” for example.

Other buttons link from the main page to The Saluki Times, the University’s news source; SalukiNet, where students can register for classes or check email; calendars, which provide a static, calendar display of upcoming events to complement the new scrolling display on the main page; SIUCAlert, People Finder, Campus Index A-Z, and more.

Ruiz emphasized that the redesign incorporated suggestions made through online surveys and focus groups.

“These changes aren’t based on our personal preferences, but on input sought in surveys and in several focus groups, including groups composed of high school students and potential SIUC students,” he said.

Douglas noted that her team created Web site templates to help individual departments on campus redesign their pages, if they wish, in a style similar to the new main page.

“The Internet is the way the majority of students come to look for information about colleges and universities,” Ruiz said. “We want to make sure we present a product that is easy to use, attractive and thorough.”