The Graduate School at UMBC went live with their new and improved website on Thursday, Oct. 1. Easy to navigate and already gaining positive feedback, gradschool.umbc.edu was designed to have a superior model to its predecessors layout.
The Graduate School at UMBC’s former website had gone years without an updated version leaving it outdated and tedious for visitors to guide themselves through. An issue that was becoming a common occurrence was visitors spending excess time trying to find what they came looking, having an impact on productivity of the website for both sides.
Manager of Recruitment and Admissions for the Graduate School at UMBC Gay Warshaw was a vital part of the process. According to Warshaw, “[they] had identified a lot of redundancies in the old website. It was much better than its precursor but it had been several years since an update. Certain things were difficult to find in the old website and multiple clicks to get to information that you needed was required.”
Warshaw elaborated, “the new website is cleaner, easier to navigate, student centered and there are less redundancies so we cleaned things up and made it more straightforward.” However, the time before the new website went live was “longer than you would think.”
Although the new website is live, preparation started months before and did not come to a close until October due to a thorough process. The first step to the overhaul of the prior website was a lengthy inventory of all of the components, as well as discussions with content experts for each area of the website.
From there, multiple focus groups comprised of current graduate students, prospective graduate students, staff and faculty were convened to not only give diverse opinions, but also hone in on areas needing improvement. Warshaw said, “the focus groups brought all the different constituents of our website together.”
Warshaw accredits IT Systems Support Specialist for The Graduate at UMBC Dan Neeley to the technical efforts of the project. According to Warshaw, “he really was key in guiding us through some of the focus groups as well as doing a lot of the technical work once we had worked out our navigation. Not only because of his knowledge and expertise previous, but also as part of the Graduate School at UMBC’s Human Centered Computing program. A lot of his guidance was enhanced by his studies as a graduate student.”
According to Warshaw the new website has gained “very positive feedback. It’s now easy to navigate. It’s easy to find information. We’ve gotten very few questions about where to find specific information a viewer is looking for. We’ve done a pretty good job of meeting our goals.”
When asked if results were as hoped for, Warshaw said, “We had the sense that we wanted to be more student centered and student focused, and to make accessing information for our current and prospective students even easier.”
Feedback suggests that the new Graduate School at UMBC website has done just that.