Friends University Unveils New Website Features
If you have visited the Friends University website recently, you may have noticed a few changes. If you are having trouble viewing these changes, refresh your browser a few times.
“We’ve made recent changes to the homepage, but we’ve also added some new interactive features to the site,” said Communications Director Gisele McMinimy.
The website’s homepage was recently revised to include new menus that provide targeted links to various types of users (Traditional Undergraduate, Adult Degree Completion, etc.). There are also tabs on the far right to request information and to apply so prospective students can quickly start the process toward their degree.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for prospective students to inquire about a degree and apply to the University and for our on-campus community to find the links they need on a daily basis,” McMinimy said.
Some of the other new features added during the past year include:
- Photo Galleries – www.friends.edu/photo-galleries
Some of the galleries included on this page include Community Service Day 2010, 2010 Commencement, and galleries for several Fine Arts groups.
- Videos – www.friends.edu/video
This page features some past television commercials and other miscellaneous videos.
- Audio – www.friends.edu/finearts
Users can hear samples from various Fine Arts groups. Other audio files will be added to the site this year through an iTunes U account.
- Interactive Campus Map – www.friends.edu/wichita-campus-map
Clicking a building on the map illustration (or the name of a building in the list below the illustration) will bring up a window that shows photos and information about the building.
- Request Information Form – www.friends.edu/request-information
Prospective students can click on a tab that will appear on the right-hand side of each page to access a form, allowing them to inquire about a program or ask a general question. They can also click on a tab to apply
- Twitter and Facebook Links – www.twitter.com/FriendsU and www.facebook.com/FriendsUniversity
The University launched an official University-wide Facebook page and a Twitter account this fall and has been working on a pilot project with the Master of Arts in Teaching program to launch a Facebook page for the program.
McMinimy said the Communications Office has been adding features to the site since it launched in June 2009.
“The site that was launched in June 2009 had to be a ‘bare-bones’ site because we were working with a vendor to get the site launched and had to keep costs reasonable,” McMinimy said. “We went from a confusing, 3,000-page site to an 800-page site at launch. We spent the 2009-10 year adding needed pages, news releases, and homepage highlights for specific events and activities. We’ve also worked with our web vendor, PlattForm Advertising, to create the new interactive features.”
McMinimy said the new site is intentionally designed to be more streamlined than the previous website. It features more timely news items and is focused on external audiences. “We’ve developed and posted more than 200 news items on the site since the launch,” McMinimy said.
The Communications web team includes Web Coordinator Jami Pierce and part-time student worker Roman Rodriguez. They meet on a weekly basis to discuss changes and additions so they make the most sense to users and so the site grows in a strategic manner. In addition, a Friends.edu Committee meets to discuss website issues and oversee the site.
The Communications Office received 756 change requests during the 2009-10 fiscal year and completed 633 of those projects. McMinimy notes the majority of those projects took more than 10 minutes. In addition, website content coordinators also updated pages for their departments.
“A lot of people have put in much time and effort to enhance our website,” McMinimy said. “We really appreciate their hard work.”
McMinimy said the Communications Office and the Friends.edu Committee will be working on additional improvements and new features for the rest of this year.