Those logging onto the university’s Web site mid-day Wednesday were in for a surprise.
All of a sudden, www.bradley.edu looked completely different.
“The old Web site was 7 years old,” said Jim Crone, director of Web marketing and communications. “It was definitely time for a change. The Web has developed so much over that time, and we needed to bring Bradley back to the cutting edge.”
The site is the first impression many visitors have of the university, he said.
“The Web site is our virtual front door to prospective students and alumni,” Crone said. “We need a superior front door for them to enter through.”
Besides a new look, Bradley.edu now has a few features key to a successful site.
One is consistency.
“Ultimately, the entire Bradley Web site will have the same look and feel, giving our external and internal audiences a unified experience as they navigate the site,” Crone said.
Making all the various department’s sites consistent is expected to take about a year. The first to switch over will be the College of Education and Health Sciences. The rest of the colleges will follow.
“We [also] investigated the good and bad of the old site as well as best practices in higher education Web sites,” Crone said. “This design will make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for on our site.”
And there are a number of visitors to that site. Ten thousand visit Bradley.edu every day.
“[Bradley] needed a look that was more in line with current Web design standards,” Crone said. “This accomplishes that.”
But the facelift to the actual site isn’t the only new aspect.
“We will be rolling out more video to make the site more media rich,” Crone said. “Today’s prospective students are more inclined to watch a video clip about a topic than read a lengthy article.”
The system that runs the site also received an upgrade.
“Behind the scenes is a new content management system that will allow us in the future to distribute our content via a mobile site and other applications.”
The Web site redesign is one of the preliminary steps in the university’s branding plan.