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New JSU Website Features Mobile Optimization, More Intuitive Navigation and More

05/27/2014

If you’re reading this, undoubtedly you've noticed some big changes on our website. After months of collaboration between our JSU web redesign team and our partners, Beacon Technology, Inc., www.jsu.edu recently received a new look, new navigation, new features, and even some new custom colors. 

We appreciate the feedback and questions that we have received, so we thought we'd share a little more about the redesign. 

Going into the rebuild, the JSU team aimed for the following improvements: 

• Responsive design/mobile optimization;
• More intuitive navigation;
• Audience funnels; and
• A website that reflects JSU traditions and excellence, and showcases our long history. 

To develop our list of wants and needs, the JSU team met with our target audience—our students. Some of the groups that helped us were our Freshman Forum, our SGA Officers, our JSU Ambassadors, and our local high school students. We also went to the web for inspiration, reviewing dozens of top reviewed college/university websites and taking inspiration from the areas and categories that we all have in common. 

For the first time, the university partnered with an outside agency, Beacon Technologies, Inc. We chose Beacon because they have vast higher education website redesign experience, particularly with universities that use Cascade Server, our content management system. 

For several months beginning last summer, JSU's internal website rebuild committee consisting of Graham Lewis, Chris Newsome, Tim Garner, Shannon Crutchfield, Angie Finley, Morgan Christopher and Mary Smith met weekly via conference calls and screen sharing with our Beacon partners. The team exchanged emails and phone calls, and reviewed proofs as our new site was developed. 

On the JSU end, we developed content and some elements that we knew would enhance our web presence. We added a new web-exclusive university word mark containing our full name and our time-honored catch phrase, "The friendliest campus in the South," so that our university name, geographic location, and collegiate identity would be distinguishable. This word mark is used in conjunction with our signature logo on each page. We also added custom web colors like Bibb Brick, Gamecock Red, Houston Cole Sunset, and Gameday Sky to our color palette to make our pages more visually appealing. (To view the complete color palette and learn more about these new web elements, please see the JSU Graphic Style Guide.) 

So far, the site has received mostly very positive feedback, with the intuitive navigation and mobile optimization earning the highest praise. As we continue to add new features, we welcome your feedback including suggestions, overall impressions and comments. 

The website feedback form is available in the footer of all pages. 

What’s New

Department Listing is now “A-Z” – To help make the website more intuitive, we have changed our Department Listing to an “A-Z” listing. Since the majority of our website visitors have never been to campus before, they do not necessarily know the name of the department they are looking for. As part of the listing, some departments have multiple listings; one for the department name and another for something the department does. For example, we list the Bursar AND Tuition and Fees. Some people might not know that the bursar handles tuition. You can access the “A-Z” index from the top of every page. 

People Finder – Looking for an e-mail address or phone number? You can search for both of those within the “People Finder” – we are in the process of making some major improvements to this as well, so be on the lookout. 

In-Page Site Search – You no longer have to go to a search page to search on the website, you can now simply click on the search icon in the top left corner of the site for the search box to appear. 

Visitor Funnels – We know finding certain things on a website can be confusing. To assist each visitor in finding what they are looking for, we created “funnels” for each type of visitor. We are currently working on a faculty/staff funnel. If you have any suggestions for content in this area or have suggestions for content that could be added to other funnels, please e-mail webmaster@jsu.edu

Focused Global Top Navigation – You may have noticed the global top navigation has changed. The new navigation is focused for visitors who are not on campus to help ensure they can find what they are looking for. 

Responsive Design – The whole website is now mobile friendly. We have used something called responsive design to ensure that the website looks optimal on any device that is looking at it. That means that the website you see on your desktop computer will not look the same to someone looking at it on their phone.

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