University of Iowa Launches New Website Design

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(Source: “New UI home page goes live,” Iowa Now, 7 January 2014)

The University of Iowa introduces a new home page today, Jan. 7, making the UI’s online front door more functional and engaging.

“Our home page needs to introduce the university to people who don’t know us and help get people where they want to go,” says Joe Brennan, UI vice president for strategic communication. “The new site better tells our story while connecting users with information and tools spread across hundreds of UI websites.”

The home page site—which includes the home page itself and many of the pages linked from it—was last refreshed in 2008. This time around, University Communication and Marketing (UCM) teamed with Information Technology Services (ITS) to rebuild the site from the ground up.

“We’ve moved the site into Drupal, the content management system ITS has adopted,” says Romy Bolton, director of ITS’s Web Services unit. “It’s part of a larger initiative to make the UI web more accessible, adaptable, and mobile-friendly.”

Home-page history
View a gallery of UI home pages from the early 1990s to today.

New online maps
Read about another new UI website being introduced this week— maps.uiowa.edu.

The home-page project marks one of the most extensive overhauls since the first UI home page went live in 1994.

“The previous site was around for five years, so some of us will need a little time to adjust to the changes,” says Lin Larson, director of creative services for UCM. “Ultimately, we think the new site is going to prove easier for everyone to use.”

Here are a few tips for faculty, staff, students, and others who use the site regularly:

  • Look for audience links in the top right area of each page. These connect to pages that offer announcements, menus, news headlines, and other items tailored to groups who frequently use the site.
  • Find links to A-Z website listings and the campus phone/email directory at the top of each page, too, right above the search box.
  • Scroll down to find quick links to other tools and resources in the footer of each page. These links appear across the site—employee self-service and Jobs@UIOWA, for example, are always just one click away.
  • Keep an eye on the rotating slideshows that appear on the home page and various second-level pages. These spaces will be used to promote new initiatives, UI news, and other info.

Find more information about features on the new site’s “about” pages, which also offer information about plans to assess and improve the site, as well as a call for feedback.

“A project like this is never done,” Larson says. “The new site is built to be dynamic, so people who use it can expect to find something new every day. We want to see it evolve to best represent the university and meet users’ needs.”

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