For the past year, the Communications Office has been working on a new website, featuring a fantastic new look by the Boston-based firm Stoltze Design and a content management system by Finalsite, a company that works specifically with and for the education community. With a planned website launch on April 5, we are excited to preview just a few of the website’s great new features with you!
The new homepage design is a sleek and streamlined introduction to the school, inviting new visitors to dig deeper. We’ve added more profiles, doorways into large amounts of content, and pop-up features, such as the I WILL statements. Finalsite’s robust search function will help users quickly find what they need, while a login button gives those familiar with the school direct access to WillyNet.
All the content remains the same—we’ve made sure documents, forms, and links in the old WillyNet are still there in the new—but functions available on Finalsite let us display it in a much more user-friendly and helpful way. Quick links can be found on the WillyNet landing page, while documents are sorted in the forms and resources tab. The left-hand navigation also offers easy access to mashup pages, the campus directory, and dining hall menu.
New Finalsite mashup pages create a great way to showcase all terrific content from students and faculty. The mashups have been divided into four—all accessible from the website’s homepage. The news mashup (for all the content that’s happened recently) has links to the school’s blogs, calendar, and social media; the events mashup (for upcoming content) has a more narrow calendar of events, plus the weather, On the Quad blog, and Flickr feed; the alumni mashup features the alumni connections blog, Twitter, calendar, alumni Facebook, Pinterest, and In Memoriam blog; the iWilliston mashup has all the great content from that team, including their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vine feeds.
The responsive design will automatically adapts content to perfectly fit the screen size of the device being used. This means that the new website can be displayed automatically on mobile phones and tablets—putting all of that great content and photography at your fingertips.
The Finalsite content management system will allow people across campus to easily maintain and update their content. Among other functions, the system features a WYSIWYG editor, impressive photo editor, search engine optimization tools, and integration with Google Analytics.
The Finalsite CMS has allowed for greater flexibility in customizing our pages and layouts. In the new website, we’ve updated all of the photography and incorporated a design that lets each page have a banner with customized content.
The new athletics manager helps sort out games, results, rosters, and coaches. Under the new system, every team has its own page with an overview, list of upcoming games and results, and coach profiles. Finalsite’s mobile update feature lets coaches update game results directly from their phones.
Parents can also keep up to date with optional text and email alerts for their favorite teams. They can opt to receive the latest scores and highlights, as well as cancellations and postponements.
Through Finalsite, calendars are centralized (to avoid duplicating efforts) and can be displayed throughout the site, including on specific pages and on WillyNet. Parents and other site visitors can opt to receive event reminders through email or text message alerts. They can also sync to the dynamic iCal feeds to stay informed of scheduling updates or changes.
One of the first places people look to get a better sense of a school is on the directory pages. Through Finalsite, the central directory has been updated and expanded to show photos, names, titles, and school phone numbers. Under the meet the faculty and meet the staff pages, each department now has its own mini-directory to showcase the best part of the school—you!