Our new website is now live with better access for users, improved search facilities and greater flexibility for the management of content.
We are proud to launch the site after many months of planning and development, and the hard work of the Web Futures Group, The Hiser Group (web usability consultants) and Phoenix Technical Solutions (Drupal implementation consultants). This is an important step forward as the website remains the most commonly used source of information about us.
The site has a contemporary look and feel with improvements that follow best practice for website usability. Our refinements are based on extensive testing to find out how users access our site and where they look for the information.
Navigation has been made much simpler by the inclusion of two navigation bars or menus at the top of every page so users always know where they are on the site. One navigation bar focuses on 'tasks' and the other on 'audiences'. We are the only university website in Australia to provide task and audience navigation bars on every page in the site.
Access is also improved for visually impaired users, who can use screen readers and other support technologies. We have reduced the size of images and text so users with slow internet connections will find it easier to access the site. We have also streamlined content and used colour and images to improve readability.
The new Content Management System is Drupal. This is an innovative and dynamic open source application used to manage a growing number of large corporate and education sites worldwide. We have customised Drupal to make it easier for web publishers to add content to the site and for the Web Futures Group to manage and monitor content updates.
All of this is just Phase One! Redevelopment of the site will continue throughout the year with more features added to Drupal and the site.
Web publishers across VU are responsible for the content on the website and the Web Futures Group is responsible for management of the site. Together they will work on the many improvements to come.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Industry and Community) Peter Creamer said all users should make the most of the new site and give feedback to either their web publisher or the Web Futures Group, who will work on keeping the site dynamic and attractive.
"The user experience has driven the design of the new site and remains paramount as we launch into the next phase," Professor Creamer said.
"Enjoy the surf!"