Penn State’s official website psu.edu received a much needed site redesign yesterday, the first major update to Penn State’s web presence in almost 11 years. Additionally, the official news website of Penn State — the misnomer formerly known as live.psu.edu — has been transformed to news.psu.edu and the Twitter account changed to @pennstatenews.
“The changes in the name and design both were made with understandability and an outward-facing philosophy in mind,” said university spokesperson Reidar Jensen. “The name “Live” did not hold any particular meaning for individuals outside of the university community — Penn State News is much more straightforward and self-explanatory. People who see Penn State News surface in their Twitter feed or in a Google search will know what to expect when they choose to read more.”
It goes without saying that almost any type of upgrade to the website would be better than the former design, which was almost completely useless. While not perfect, the new design has a much more graphic-friendly look, a more comprehensive navigation bar, and a more social-media centric approach.
“The final layout you see today — on both the news website and on the Penn State homepage, both of which launched today — was the result of a large amount of work by a group of more than 80 dedicated individuals from across the University. The development of the layout and design was a painstaking and research-heavy process,” Jensen said. “It had been more than 10 years since we redesigned the University’s news website, so, needless to say, it was time for an update.”
Utilizing Penn State’s web presence will still remain confusing at some level as long as the seemingly endless medley of topic specific websites exist. As my colleague Dave Cole aptly pointed out, http://transparency.psu.edu sends you to http://openness.psu.edu , which recommends you visit http://progress.psu.edu. But the new website provides almost all of the helpful links that I’ve used during my time as a student.
“No matter how a user approaches the site, it is our goal to have the design work for them — there are areas for people who are interested in specific topics; areas for people who approach university news as a member of an audience; and areas for users who want news from a specific college or Penn State campus,” Jensen said. “The front page is designed to allow visitors to zone in on a specific area of interest using the navigation, but also allows them to quickly scan the page and absorb the latest news.”
Indeed, it’s nice to see Penn State upgrade to a website that is at least presentable to prospective students. It doesn’t hurt that it came just in time for THON weekend!