On Nov. 6, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s main website underwent a major update, resulting in a complete revamp and overhaul of the site.
The update is a full redesign of the UL Lafayette website, with the goal of making it more accessible and focused towards students. According to Aimée Abshire, senior director of web and digital strategy, a lot of work was put into making sure that new students are able to easily access the things they need on the site.
“It’s much more focused toward students, particularly prospective students. We’ve worked really hard to make sure that all of the actions that students need to take are front and center,” Abshire said. “We’ve removed a lot of the jargon and tried to make things as clear as possible.”
The main page of the website has front-and-center links for applying to the university, booking a campus tour, information on tuition and costs and a virtual tour. Images and videos of student and faculty also fill much of the site’s design.
Current students and faculty remained in mind for the design process, and the website still retains the information that they need in sections specifically dedicated to them, located at the top of the main page under a drop-down bar.
“We also have sections that are dedicated to current students and to faculty and staff. So there’s still information on there for those audiences, and what we did was we used data to find out what people were using the most, and that’s what we built out on the pages,” Abshire said.
One of the goals in developing this redesign was to ensure that students aren’t lost as to where to find things on the new website.
“In terms of where things are, we’ve tried to make this as user-friendly as possible, so they should be able to find things pretty quickly. And we also have a very robust search feature, so they can always search and it’ll pull up whatever it is that they’re looking for,” Abshire said.
The redesign has been three years in the making, which included a period of beta testing with high school students, current university students, parents, faculty and alumni.
“We tried to get a good range of users and overwhelmingly it was positive. The students in particular didn’t have any negative feedback at all, they just talked about how easy it was to use, how much they liked the visuals, and how it gave them a better sense of what the university was about,” Abshire said.
Abshire further added that a major goal of the redesign was to highlight the accomplishments and voices of the students.
“The website is telling the university story through student voices. We have hundreds of student spotlights on this website and we’re trying to represent the students authentically so that they see themselves, and so that future students also can see themselves in the students that are presented on the site,” Abshire said.
UL Lafayette is working on updating and redesigning 152 other university related sites, beginning with the ones students use the most, such as the sites for financial aid, the library, graduate school and so on. Much of the groundwork for these updates has already been built, and they should only take about six to nine months to complete.
The university will also be redesigning ULink and its mobile app as well, with plans to complete those next year.