Towson’s website receives overhaul
Towson’s website has recently received a facelift, which administration says is the first step in a complete overhaul.
The redesign features rearranged sections and added an emphasis on news and storytelling, Director of Digital Strategy Michael Heasley, who was a key figure in development of the new site, said.
The “top stories” section highlights topical stories about Towson and makes more use of photography. The redesign will also include the purchase of a new content management system for the site that will allow for a more visually-appealing webpage, Heasley said.
“It’s a web publishing system that will give us more functionality than what we currently have and will enable our website to be much more robust, flexible and adaptable,” he said.
Senior David Beacken said that he appreciates Towson’s approach to organizing the website.
“I like the new design because it is far better organized than the last one,” he said. “The quick links section is very helpful and takes a lot of stress away from people trying to search for something that won’t necessarily come up in the search engine.”
Senior accounting major Zofia Poltorak said she finds it harder to navigate the new layout. She said it is harder for her to find key pages she uses, such as “Current Students,” for maintenance requests and timesheets.
“Although the design is probably simpler and more modern looking, the older one felt more organized and structurally pleasing,” she said. “Overall, I am indifferent to the changes, however I do wish they would brought back some of the old navigation.”
Another added feature is the selective use of WordPress, a blog tool and publishing platform, across the website, he said. The WordPress connection helps the site generate more views because Google search results tend to pick up blog content above other web pages.
Administration plans to focus on accessibility of the website by compensating for slower Internet connections and mobile devices such as phones and tablets. Heasley did not mention a mobile-specific design.
The most recent refresh last Wednesday required no outside costs and was done completely in-house but for the final design, outside services, therefore outside costs, may be employed, Heasley said. Heasley said he does not know when the website will be finished.
“What we’re aiming for is to make it as up to date, easy to use, vibrant and interesting as it possibly can be,” he said. “Every time someone visits our website we create an impression and millions of people visit our website and millions of impressions are created and we want people to have the best possibly impression of Towson University.”