Lafayette launches project to redesign the main website

Karla Talley

Lafayette’s website is being redesigned, with a focus on making it compatible with different devices.

Lafayette’s web design team is in the process of redesigning the school’s main website in order to make it friendlier to different devices people may use to access the site.

Director of Web Applications Development Kenneth Newquist said one of the goals is to create a more responsive design for the website.

“What responsive means is that the website adjusts itself to accommodate the device that you’re using,” Newquist said.

With an increase in the number of internet browsing devices, Newquist said the new responsive design will eliminate the guesswork involved in figuring out the best design for devices with different widths. The redesign team is currently working on a responsive design for the Lafayette Portal and hopes to have the design up and running in a few weeks.

Associate Director for Web Design and Development Erwin Annulysse said the challenge is keeping the school branding while letting different sites have their own identity.

“We want to make it more flexible in terms of what you can do with it so that it’s easier to have microsites that have the Lafayette branding,” Newquist said. “It’ll look like a Lafayette site but it’ll give you more options.”

Microsites have separate URLs than parent sites and can sometimes cause confusion in users who are only familiar with the layout of the parent site. Having more flexible templates will allow the school to maintain the Lafayette brand while communicating specific or additional information to its viewers.

The college underwent a yearlong evaluation process that resulted in partnership with Fastspot, a web design firm that recently created a new website for Bucknell University and Kenyon College.

Vice President and Chief Information Officer John O’Keefe said the anticipated project launch is August of 2015. In the meantime, there will be opportunities for the community to provide feedback and to comment on design elements.

Fastspot’s first on-campus focus group was held this week to talk with college constituents about their hopes for the new website. The college anticipates more opportunities in the future for various constituent groups to participate in focus groups, including design mockups and usability tests, for feedback.

“The goal is to identify main outcomes for the project from the perspective of each group and from there, begin to iterate design and coding for the new site,” O’Keefe wrote in an email. “All along the way we will continue to seek input and help from the campus community, led by Ken Newquist.”

“We have been doing a lot of experimentation with responsive design over the last year in preparation for this,” Newquist said. “Right now we are still in the information gathering stage of the project.”