Redesigned Web site to launch next month

Beginning next month, Geneseo's official Web site, which has not been substantially changed in years, will gradually be updated with new pages designed to increase usability and aesthetics.

Geneseo contracted with Zone 5, a web redesign agency, for the project. Zone 5 held on-campus focus groups and found that though Geneseo alumni were decidedly proud of their alma mater, they felt that the Web site did not do a good job of representing the college.

"We want the Web site to be something that alumni feel proud of, as well as something that will make a good impression on prospective students," said Paul Jackson, assistant director of information services.

The new site was designed compete with those used by top schools like Cornell and Colgate Universities.

Jackson said that the current site fails to "accurately reflect the vibrancy and energy of the Geneseo community." He said the redesigned site will be updated daily and offer a feature where users can click through a news slider highlighting the events of that day. Jackson hopes that more regular updates will mean that the site captures "everything that is going on at Geneseo."

Many users of the current site have voiced dissatisfaction. Junior Brent Siegel said that the site "makes it difficult to see upcoming events for the day" and does not provide interesting interactive features.

"[The Web site's] pictures are outdated and never change," said senior Chris McClary.

Junior Alexandru Matusz described it as, "Very difficult to navigate."

The college is also planning to expand its use of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. The new site will link to the college's accounts on these sites and also to the "My Life at Geneseo" video series on YouTube.

Laura Kenyon, web communications manager at Geneseo, said that these videos will feature current students talking about "what they love about Geneseo."

The site will also offer a "Geneseo by Geneseo" tool where members of the campus community can upload personal photos of the college and town. Kenyon said she hopes that such interactive features will "foster a sense of Geneseo community."

Jackson said that the changes are about both "usability and style," and that users will find the new site more accessible and easily navigable than they do now.

Kenyon said that next month will be a "soft launch" of the site, since the current incarnation has over 30,000 Web pages that are still in the process of being reformatted to match the new design. The implementation of a completely new site will be a gradual, ongoing process.