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Function and form. The U of C plans to the change the current jumble of U of C pages to all look the same.
courtesy U of C external relations

U of C web site gets fall makeover

$35,000 upgrade brings site up to date

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Like your crazy cousin finally entering the new millennium by losing the mullet, the University of Calgary web site is getting a makeover to bring it up to date in time for the fall.

Massive makeovers don't come cheap and the web site redesign--intended to make the site more consistent and user-friendly--cost the university $35,000.

The price tag is well worth it for a site that gets a total of 450,000 hits per day, according to U of C associate vice-president external relations Catherine Bagnell-Styles.

"We wanted to change the functionality of the web site," said Bagnell-Styles. "The feedback we gathered said the inconsistencies in the web site were jarring for users."

Presently, each university department or faculty is responsible for creating and maintaining their own site, resulting in many different looks and navigation systems.

While external relations--in cooperation with IT and Student Academic Services--aims to standardize the look of all U of C web pages, they won't dictate the content.

"External relations is responsible for the look, feel and function, but departments will be responsible for their own content," explained Bagnell-Styles.

IT, SAS, external relations, kinesiology and medicine are currently testing the new design to address any problems. The first pages will be switched to the new style sometime in August, with the rest of the pages following in the fall, according to Bagnell-Styles.

Though the web site has a sleek new design, it will forgo flashy in favour of function, said Student Academic Services e-strategy executive director David Johnston.

"Simplicity is a big part of this," said Johnston. "We could have done this all in Flash, but we know people's reaction--they look for that skip button."

Johnston noted planners discussed ways to make the new design accessible to the greatest number of people, including those with visual or motor impairments.

Part of the redesign also includes a widget--an icon students and staff can download to their desktop to keep them up-to-date on campus happenings.

The widget will be ready in late August, said Bagnell-Styles.

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