The University of South Dakota’s marketing and information technology web teams are working alongside a contracted website design firm to update the university’s website and MyU portal.
According to USD Marketing and Relations Director Tena Haraldson, without any unexpected roadblocks, the teams are expecting both jobs to be done by the beginning of the 2014 term.
Haraldson said programming the newest version of the portal began in spring 2013, and hopes the public website is producing a more mobile-friendly site.
“The website is a very important part of our internal and external communications, and it’s something that we watch all the time to see that it’s performing,” she said. “We want to make sure that we have the prime applications and software and services that students use.”
As of now, work on the public website is only in the planning and development stage. The university has contracted New City from Blacksburg, Va. to work on the update process.
New City came to USD last week and conducted an interactive survey with USD’s Student Government Association to help target what students want from the new site and how they can approach the project. New City also placed a survey on the current website for all site visitors to give their thoughts.
“We’re surveying current students, prospective students, faculty, staff and alumni, and we’re trying to get a better understanding of the types of things they’re looking for on the website or things they may be having trouble on right now,” Eva Floyd, senior user experience architect for New City, said. “It’s an opportunity for users of the website to report how they use it.”
First-year Student Government Association Senator Dustin Santjer contributed to the SGA survey last week, and said he has had his fair share of problems on both the MyU portal and the university’s website. Among those concerns, Santjer said the website’s navigation and search bars are shaky, and he would like to see the website become more friendly for prospective students.
“Websites are becoming a great tool when students are actually looking for the schools they’re going to research or attend or visit,” Santjer said. “And if it’s hard to navigate that website, they’re going to have trouble learning about what they want to know.”
Floyd said New City has a team whose next step is to collaborate and begin working toward the goal of finishing the website update by the end of next summer.
“We’re working on a summary report to figure out what we learned last week,” Floyd said. “I know we learned a lot from discussion about the campus and what the people want, and the project will be moving even faster soon.”