FMU launches new website over summer

Ashley Krause, Staff Writer

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After almost a year of work, FMU introduced an upgraded and modernized website with a fresh look.

Members of the FMU faculty and staff, as well as a few students, were chosen to work on the new website because of their technological skills. The idea to update the site came from senior-level administration.

“We knew it needed to be done,” Tucker Mitchell, vice president of university communications, said. “The old website’s content managing system was 12- 15 years old, and what we could do with it was very limited.”

Mitchell, who helped guide the team throughout the process, also said that the new system is hosted by WordPress, which is user-friendly and customizable.

“Some departments left the system we were using to develop their own sites so they could have an up-to-date design and work in an easier development environment,” Coordinator of Digital Media Larry Falck said.

Falck, Mitchell and the others who worked on the site had to concentrate on several key issues.

“We wanted to focus on the aesthetics of the site but also with improved navigation and organization,” Falck said. “We wanted the navigation to be by both topic and audience.”

Individuals from across FMU agree that the website is a step in the right direction for FMU to relate to new generations of students.

“There is a stark difference between the old website and the new website, which made the transition kind of difficult,” Zoē Buffkin, junior chemistry major, said. “Once I got used to the formatting differences, I found that I liked it a lot better.”

The new website has a mobile version, which gives people the opportunity to access it from different locations more easily.

Buffkin said that the updated website would also be beneficial for current and prospective students.

“The mobile version is a lot easier to navigate,” Buffkin said. “Any new or prospective students would probably get a better experience out of the new website. So, I am excited about it.”

According to Mitchell, the university wants people to have a positive experience with the new website.

“Our new design is responsive and can be accessed on mobile devices,” Mitchell said. “Today more than half of our audience views our website on cell phones.”

The team chosen to work on the website update was in part chosen to save money. “By enlisting people on campus, we made a website that would normally cost six figures cost a lot less,” Mitchell said. “People like professor Charles Jeffcoat were instrumental in providing service for this website.”

According to Rachel Ankers, a student who worked on the website, the site is multifaceted and is helping to recruit new students. It also helps current students, faculty and staff.

“My favorite part of the new website is the functionality and that we have full control over it,” Falck said.

A website that once had 2800 pages now has 600 pages. “We are in the age of swipes now,” Mitchell said. “It used to be you have to click the computer mouse for information; now it is all mobile.”

Because technology has changed the way people find information, FMU’s homepage includes about 8-10 pages of information that the old site had scattered around because of the scrolling or swiping instead of clicking to search for the information.

“We need to meet the users of the website where they are in cyberspace and not try to conform to a 15-year-old navigation,” Mitchell said.

The university’s web address has not changed. It can still be found at www. fmarion.edu.

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FMU launches new website over summer