Administration shouldn’t forget students in website redesign

posted in: Opinion | 0

“So what process would I have to do to get a link to The Pacific Index’s website up on Pacific’s homepage?” I asked at last week’s CASSS meeting with President Hallick and company. My question was met with laughter from certain members of the cabinet. You know who you are.

I don’t recall any other students being laughed at for making their requests and I certainly didn’t appreciate the snide mockery. The Index isn’t a legitimate organization like any other organization present at the meeting? What, my opinion isn’t as valuable as other students? If the university is willing to accept my tuition like every other student then I deserve to the same level of respect as any other student – regardless of what organizations I represent.

After having a chuckle at my expense, Akers responded that the university’s website is already overloaded with content. He stated that the vision for the future of the website includes a more streamlined, simplified version geared toward external users. By external users he means, not current students.

I can understand that the administration wants to open up our campus, which has been previously somewhat isolated. I’m not even opposed to a more simplified website, I’m absolutely in favor of it, but what I’m afraid is going to happen is the students will be left searching the abyss of the website for OUR needs? Access to the library’s online resources, Boxermail, Blackboard, course catalogs, student accounts, class schedules and more.

I can appreciate that Pacific is going through the process of changing their image; in the past few years we’ve seen a new logo, the addition of a football team and the implementation of an actual marketing campaign to try to attract new students and donors to the Pacific University brand. But I beseech the administration, which has its eyes focused on Vision 2020 and future Pacific students, to not forget about the students that are here now.

This is our campus- we’re paying for it. Pacific is a business and we should treat it like one; they’re selling a product and if we aren’t happy with it, we need to speak up and make ourselves heard.

If the website is going to make a move toward a design that is more beneficial for external users, why not then have the homepage broken up into supplemental websites, one geared toward externals and one geared toward internals, i.e. students, faculty and staff?

They could even give them separate links, so maybe the main page could be and the student page could be, alumni could be – you get the idea.

All users could come to one page, then make a selection that takes them to a separate website that caters to the needs of their demographic – prospective students, current students, new students, parents, alumni and friends, faculty and staff? The content could be far less cluttered and users wouldn’t have to filter through so much information that is irrelevant to their demographic needs.

There are so many different facets of Pacific that depend on the website and I recognize that the university is already dealing with multiple websites, but the user experience is poor and there needs to be an easier way to navigate the site.


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