Pomona To Launch New Website This Summer With Improved User Interface
In order to better accommodate prospective students, current students, alumni and other visitors, Pomona College’s website has undergone several changes and will complete its transformation in a few short months.
After years of hearing about dissatisfaction with the functionality of the website, Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Marylou Ferry said that the college decided to update the current website, which was designed in 2010. One of the most common complaints had to do with navigation and needing to move through many different pages to find information.
“We took a step back to really listen to people who use the website or will be using the website,” Ferry said.
In order to get direct feedback from the community, students were interviewed last May on what they did and did not like about the current site. There were also discussion-based workshops with students, staff and faculty starting last fall.
Communications web assistant Lucas Dos Santos PO ’17 has taken part in the development process by brainstorming during its preliminary stages, participating in the workshops and providing feedback on subsequent designs.
“I think it’s really just keeping up with modern website design,” Dos Santos said. “I mean, the Pomona website, as it is right now, is a little outdated, so it was definitely time to move and refresh the website. Just to keep it modern and better organized regarding information.”
When prospective students were exploring the site, a survey asked students what they came to the website to find.
“Prospective students don’t really come into the website through the home page,” Ferry said. “They are typically looking to see if Pomona has a major or minor in a certain area.”
Some of the big changes include an A-Z directory. This gives users a quick and efficient way to dive straight into what they are looking for. Other features include greater accessibility to all the departments and their majors, as well as an optimized design for mobile devices.
The entire Pomona communications team has been working on the new website for nearly a year and a half, under the direction of Ferry and Nathan Stazewski, associate director of communications, technology and strategy. The college is also collaborating with outside firms NewCity and Drupal and KWALL.
Unlike the current website, Pomona’s new website will be hosted on servers external to the campus, rather than on the Information Technology Services server.
“It just seemed to make sense to have a company where that’s what they do day-in and day-out," Stazewski said. "The other thing is, there was always this worry about if there was an earthquake or something like that. What if the website went down? Well, if it’s out in the cloud, that whole issue goes away.”
The website will go live June 30. However, there will continue to be additional fixing and curating throughout the summer to add new content until fall.
As a way of thanking all the people who helped develop the new website, the administration is distributing commemorative mugs across campus.
“We want to really understand the journey people take to come to Pomona College through the web and what they are trying to accomplish,” Ferry said.
Stazewski said that the new website design captures the essence of Pomona.
“I think it looks very modern and clean and Pomona,” Stazewski said. “It has the vibrancy of Pomona, is the easiest way I could say it.”
Diane Lee contributed reporting.