Quinnipiac gears its website to community members

Emily Flamme, News Editor

The Quinnipiac University website relaunched Monday, Dec. 14, in order to make it more user-friendly for all audiences. 

“Our goal was to really partner very closely with the university community,” said Jim Ryan, associate vice president for integrated marketing communications. “That was to make sure that when we started building a website, we had a foundational understanding of what the university’s needs were from the website.”

The homepage of the website has a menu with categories including “academics,” “admissions,” “tuition and aid,” “student life,” “about” and “support QU.” Once one of these tabs is picked, it takes the user to another page that organizes the information with a series of sub-categories that have links to other pages.

Jonathan Sawitsky, senior director for user experience and engagement, said students — current and prospective — can easily find information pertaining to them on the new “intuitive model” of the site. 

“There’s also a role for the website for current students, parents and family of current students, alumni, potential employees of the university,” Ryan said. “So there’s many more people that have an interest in what we’re doing, we need to make sure we create content presented for them in a way that’s meaningful.”

“Quinnipiac Today” is a section on the website that highlights stories about the Quinnipiac community. (Screenshot from qu.edu)

Each school at Quinnipiac has its own page with all of the content related to it, functioning as a “microsite,” Swaitsky said.

Sawitsky said the website was last updated four years ago. He explained that three to four years is the typical timespan a website lasts before needing a change in order to stay up-to-date with the technology.

Ryan said the change came after the team working on the new site conducted interviews, surveys and focus groups with people in the Quinnipiac community. They spoke to 1,300 people as a result and were able to create a website that catered to its audience. 

Another way the site is more accessible is that Sawitsky said it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Storytelling on the site was something Ryan said the team wanted to focus on. The creators were looking for the right balance of pure information and stories related to the Quinnipiac community.

In order to accomplish this, the top part of the site was dedicated to information-searching, and the bottom half has a section called “Quinnipiac Today,” where four of the most recent stories are highlighted. 

Although the main goal was to make the site’s content easier to navigate, Ryan said it was also important to make the design more appealing. 

“We also had an opportunity to relook at the design of the website, right?” Ryan said. “How do we make it a bit more vivid, bold? How does it help to animate the university from the inside out and really feel organic and alive?”

Sawitsky said they wanted consumers of the site to “lean forward” into the content, rather than “sit back and passively use the site.”

Ryan and Sawitsky said they will continue to add content and make more information available in the coming months.