Westfield State has a New Virtual Face
I’m excited about the new Westfield State University website that went live recently.
When I was a high-school senior applying to colleges, whether or not an institution’s website was friendly and easy to use was one of the first things I noticed. Prospective students have no idea what a university will be like once they attend; they want to gather as much as they can from the website, social media sites, college tours and talking to current students as they can.
So I know how important the Westfield State website is.
So does Webmaster Alyssa Goodreau. She knows that university websites should be updated every three years or so to keep them fresh and relevant. Her commitment to the University’s redesign is apparent: “It’s not just about designing a visually appealing home page,” she told me when I interviewed her about the new site for the University’s magazine, Focus. “It is about bringing the Westfield State story to life in a vivid and friendly manner throughout the entire site.”
It can be difficult to allow users to really understand what the University is all simply with visits to its website, so Alyssa worked with various contractors to identify what the site need in order to draw users into the community that is Westfield State.
The new website has as a photo-of-the-day feature, which Alyssa says will give users a chance to really understand the heart and soul of the University, its students and faculty. There is also a “Today at Westfield” tab and direct links to the University’s social media sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. These give website users an inside look into day-to-day life.
Alyssa committed to upgrading the University’s website after identifying concerns about the old site, which she says was lacking in sophistication for today’s times and needed a search tool as well as a solid navigation structure.
She became the project manager of the redesign and worked closely with user experience architects, analytic specialists, creative teams, content strategists, programmers and developers and many University colleagues to make the redesign as smooth as possible.
Her ultimate goal was to improve the experiences of all users, especially prospective students.
After an intensive interview process during Fall 2013, the University partnered with NewCity, a Virginia-based company, in November to design a new, updated website.
The new site launched in mid-July and features a responsive design, remodeled site architecture and navigation layout, a more advanced search tool, implementation of the University catalog and customized search engine optimization.
Alyssa stresses that a website is never completely “done,” but instead will continue to grow, change and adapt to new and exciting challenges the University faces.
We at Beetle Press are excited about the University’s new face.
I’m a senior there this year, and Janice is a 1985 alum who has served as editor of the University’s magazine since 2001. We both have a lot of respect and caring for the University, and we want others to recognize it as soon as they visit www.westfield.ma.edu.