'Discover' the new University homepage

Last redesigned in '06, new pages take advantage of today's best practices

11/4/2008 | By: Brandon Stewart  |

For all the talk of change we’ve heard surrounding this year’s presidential election, we decided it was time for the University of Nevada, Reno’s top-level web pages to embrace some change as well.

Following some soul searching with various university constituents across campus, we set out to achieve the following goals:

  • Distinguish the University of Nevada, Reno as an alluring destination for prospective students
  • Tell stories that help differentiate Nevada from similar institutions
  • Maintain and increase access to information

To achieve those goals, we redesigned the pages with the following features:

Internal audience toolkit
The most used links we moved to the top-right corner of the page: Directory, ePAWS, Email, WebCampus and A-Z Index.

The A-Z Index is an alphabetical listing of websites for each of the University's units and programs.

While the search box remained in the same location, we are embarking on a project to archive and consolidate University web pages in an effort to improve the quality of the search results.

New navigation

In an effort to consolidate the navigation on the homepage, we narrowed the main navigation options to six: prospective students, current students, faculty/staff, alumni, community partners and parents.

More, larger feature stories
The feature stories aim to tell Nevada’s story, communicating what makes Nevada a unique place. Showcasing students and faculty, the feature stories not only intend to give prospective students a taste of campus life but also to keep internal audiences informed of what is going on in other parts of campus.

In addition to making the feature stories larger, we have added a rotator to include more stories for a longer period of time.

Discover Nevada
One of the most appealing aspects of Nevada is its sense of place – it is a place unlike any other. When visitors come here they are often surprised by the beauty of the region and the culture within. For many, Nevada is a place they discover for themselves.

The Discover Nevada section of the new University homepage hopes to allow for just that. With large photographs of the surrounding region, the section consolidates information for prospective students into one location.

Events at Nevada
Based on feedback from student leadership, we expanded the presence of event listings on the homepage. This includes thumbnail images and a scrolling interface.

We are in the final stages of making these listings clickable to further details. In the meantime, if you would like further details on an event, search for it at www.unr.edu/calendar

Collapsible menus
The greatest challenge in designing a university website is effectively and efficiently routing numerous audiences to an incredible amount of information.

To this end we have implemented collapsible link menus on each of the top level pages. This will allow for users to browse through shorter lists of information instead of being overwhelmed by a full list.

Should you not find what you are looking for in the collapsible menus, you can always try the A-Z Index, which has a list of all University units and programs, or the search box.

Other second level pages

In addition to the University homepage and main navigation, several other sites were included in this redesign, including the campus tour, degree programs and University traditions.

If you would like to comment on the new site, there is a link in the right of the footer to "send us feedback on the new site." Or, if you still would like to get to the old homepage, there is link in the footer for that as well.


For more news on the University of Nevada, Reno, follow @unevadareno on Twitter.

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