Delta College launched the redesign of its website to the public in May. It is the first new look for the site in more than ten years.
“The main goal is to provide better access to information through better easier site navigation and less clutter,” Shelly Valenton, Delta’s director of marketing, communications and outreach, said in an email.
“We also want it to be engaging and interesting to current and potential students by having more images instead of lengthy text, featuring our students and the campus through testimonials and lots of campus photos, and offering relevant and timely information,” she said.
The task of redesigning the site was a long and arduous one, according to the page outlining the redesign on the updated website.
“Our biggest challenge was the amount of content available on the old website,” Valenton said.
“By the time we launched, we were able to reduce our number of pages from 30,000 to just over 2,000 pages and that is a significant change. It is a lot easier now to navigate the site and find the information you are looking for,” she said.
Expandable and collapsible menus make navigation faster and simpler. The site even has an interactive campus map and a online directory to aid in finding your way around and contacting faculty.
Work began in 2016 and Delta College staff collaborated with students and outside sources to improve the site. They got user feedback and used analytics and content workshops to get a better sense of how people used the site, what they tend to look for and how to design for that.
“First, we surveyed students, faculty and staff to understand their needs… Then we conducted focus groups with students, staff/faculty, and community members to get more in-depth information,” Valenton said.
“Throughout the project, we have consulted with the different web authors and conducted workshops to help us determine the content that needed to be moved and design specific sections of the site with the content experts,” she said.
The new site is now better for mobile devices because it can scale its pages to smaller screens.
So far, feedback has been positive.
“Users love the look and the ease of use compared to the old site,” Valenton said. “I have been watching our site statistics and it is clear that more users are visiting the new site and spending longer time navigating the various sections of the site.”
According to Valenton, the site has seen a 13 percent increase in unique user traffic, and the school has already won an award for the project from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations District 6.
Most students seem to like the redesign.
“I like the colors and things are easy to get to once you play around with the website,” said Delta student Katherine Douglass.
Delta student Christopher Castellon said he finds that the tab bars provide convenient navigation.
“After coming back from being enrolled in 2014, (the website) seemed pretty easily maneuverable,” he said. “It’s pretty user friendly I think.”
“I definitely struggled during the first website to find the online access, and this one, it’s very easy to find Canvas,” he said.
Student Jalen Hodges also praised the sites treatment of Canvas. “But getting to my email is kind of a hassle,” he said.
A number of students reported difficulties finding their email on the updated site.
“I have the hardest time finding my email,” said Delta student Larry Hornsby.
“I like the update of the website and it looks nice and everything, but the email was the hardest thing for me,” he said.
Delta student and graphic design major Ethan Escutia said, “I mean, it looks nice, it has the schools colors and all, but I don’t go on the website that often, and when I do it’s to check email or look at classes.”
“Finding classes is easy but sometimes I forget, like ‘where’s the email again, where’s the tab for that?’” Escutia said.
Work on the website is a continuous process. The site has a feedback feature on the redesign outline page to help the school fix bugs and add requested features.
“A website redesign is a dynamic process,” Valenton said.
Since launch, the college has already added a pretty significant feature: adding job and salary information to the program program pages. This is to “to help students choose their degree programs and plan their career,” Valenton said.
“Content will constantly change and we will continue improving upon it based on user feedback,” she said.