Fresh, new design for UMassD website debuts

By Zack Downing, Staff Writer

This year has been the year of change for UMass Dartmouth.

A new chancellor was found in Robert Johnson, the middle of campus is being redesigned (albeit slowly), and Zimbra was unfortunately replaced with Microsoft Outlook.

Another change to the online landscape was a redesign to the website.

Previously, the website layout was decent, with a slide show banner near the top telling us of recent news and events.

However, this new layout is loud and proud.

Click on the UMass Dartmouth link and it brings you to a giant screen of various clips filmed around campus. The site shows you professors helping students, scientific technology being touted, and shots of the campus architecture.

The top of the screen hosts a familiar blue banner, with the same buttons and links that were central to the old format. At the upper right is a link to go to a handy menu, with much of the same links that are on the main page in one concise area.

If you scroll down, you can see recent news about UMass Dartmouth, and events going on around campus. Directly below that is something that might strike anxiety in the hearts of many students here: a countdown to commencement 2017, overlaid on an image of happy graduates.

Whether or not you think the countdown is terrifying, it looks pretty good. At the bottom of the page are a series of “fast facts” highlighting our high rank as a national research university and our deflating enrollment number.

I think the new page looks pretty good; it’s simple and stylish, and isn’t cluttered with too many links.

If you do want the links, just click on the upper left corner to find where they’re all gathered.

There’s one glaring issue with the new page, however. Of the 8 buttons on the top of the screen (Admissions, Student Life, Athletics, etc), only 3 of them bring you to redesigned pages.

The pages that are there still look nice and clean, but the other links bring you to the old pages, with layouts that don’t match the new design.

They still function fine, but it’s jarring to click a link and be brought to a totally different design than the previous page you were on.

This might be confusing to new students who aren’t familiar with the way the page used to look, and they might struggle to find the links they need.

I’m not sure if this is a work in progress, or somehow an oversight by the design team. Either way, it’s a simple issue with a simple fix, and as soon as all the different pages are brought to the modern age to match the main page, it will look impressive.

I believe incoming students will enjoy the new layout, and will learn their way around it without an issue.

I don’t know if all the new changes to UMass Dartmouth will have the same success, but hopefully the new website is first of many improvements.

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