- Corraling thousands of pages of information about The University
of Southern Mississippi's more than 200 degree programs, classes
and services offered at six locations, and a myriad of campus organizations,
centers and institutes is no small task. But prospective students,
alumni and others seeking information online about programs, events
and services at Southern Miss can do so easier and faster beginning
Aug. 1, thanks to the university's launch of a newly redesigned
the university's online presence will now be more streamlined, cohesive
nationally respected institution of higher learning, it is critical
that The University of Southern Mississippi's Web site be up to
date, easy to navigate and user-friendly. With this redesign, we
will be accomplishing each of those points," said Southern
Miss' director of marketing and public relations, Lisa S. Mader.
In the works
for nearly five months, the mammoth redesign project was long overdue
on a site that had become difficult to navigate and overall lacked
a cohesive structure, said Mader.
Among the new
features on the site:
front page images are incorporated into a slide show, with links
to corresponding current news and events.
major areas of the site, including colleges, admissions, and registrar,
have a more consistent look and streamlined content.
about Southern Miss' teaching sites and campuses is more accessible.
links with information on research/economic development and business
and industry have been added.
" A better
system of navigation is within the site so that the home page is
always accessible with one mouse click.
page now offers more information selections in a more logical way,
according to Valerie Craig, iTech training specialist and Web project
coordinator. For example, main links on the front page go to information
about academics, administration, student information, news, arts,
athletics, contacts, faculty/staff, alumni/friends, business/industry,
campus/teaching sites, and research/economic development. Additional
links to libraries, a publications events calendar, bookstore and
other items are available at the bottom of the page.
The new design
and content will go a long way toward satisfying constituents' expectations
and management of the university's online presence, said Jenny Watson,
Web developer for the Department of Marketing and Public Relations.
"Prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff,
and other visitors have ever-growing expectations for our Web site's
appearance, speed, comprehensiveness, accuracy, and ease of use.
A poorly managed Web site - one with incomplete, hard-to-find, inaccurate,
or out-of-date information - could be a serious liability for our
In March, the
Department of Marketing and Public Relations and iTech (formerly
OTR) initiated the redesign task. Nearly every department and organization
on campus has been involved in the project, but it has most affected
the administrative and academic departments, said Craig. She, along
with the iTech team of designers, created templates for the main
pages as well as sites for various customers on campus.
however, some areas of the site that remain unaffected by the changes.
Personal faculty, staff and student pages housed on the Ocean server
will not be subject to review and will remain untouched and viewable
at the same URLs where they currently exist.
Now that the
big step of redesign is complete, said Craig, the next necessary
step is constant maintenance and upkeep. There also will be continuing
work on bringing student organizational pages into compliance with
the university guidelines.
the user will be pleased when they come to the site now," said
When the conversion
took place, only sites that have completed the redesign process
will be accessible through www.usm.edu, and all other sites will
not be viewable. iTech will keep old files until Oct. 1, 2003, which
will still allow areas to access their old content for the redesign.
about each step of the process are online at
questions, questions regarding application for a space on the new
server, or to discuss the Web Team design assistance options available
through iTech, contact Craig at 266-5010.
is also available through staff members at the Center for Education
and Learning Technology at 266-6958.