The start of an academic year brings with it many new things, from new students and professors, to new classes and labs. This year also brings us a new Knox website. As the Office of Communications has worked to develop the site over the last nine months, we’ve had a few questions pop up now and again. We thought we’d share those questions — and our answers — with you today in the hope that they will help you better navigate and engage with our new site.
Didn’t we just launch a new website?
We, in fact, did launch a new look and feel to our website last December. This new site was meant to be an interim solution to one of the main critiques of our previous site — that knox.edu did not portray our vibrant and engaging campus and educational program. Working with our technical partner, Brooklyn United, we developed a new “wrapper” for our website’s content. We jazzed up the site with more images and fast facts, changed the colors and fonts, and gave the site a more modern feel, but we did not change the site’s content, messaging, or organization. Again, this was an interim solution so that our web presence would better engage and attract prospective students and their families while we continued to rework the College’s overall messaging and the site’s content organization.
What has changed with this new site?
In a nutshell, lots! Brooklyn United used the design of the interim website as a starting point and continued to develop our site to better present Knox’s vibrant campus; highlight our distinguishing characteristics, such as experiential learning, student research and creative work, our diverse campus; and look and feel more exciting and modern. We also wanted the site to be truly responsive, i.e. it would look good and be readable to everyone no matter what device they used to view the site (desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet). One of the first things we did was a review of the site’s content and realized that we simply had too much (content was duplicated across sections of the site, out-of-date pages weren’t removed, and so on) We’ve worked to streamline the content, better utilizing the Offices & Services pages and the my.knox portal. We’ve also incorporated the College’s new messaging — a human-powered Knox education — into the written and visual content of the site. But the biggest change is to the navigation. Instead of a standard bar across the top that features all of the site’s primary sections, we now use an expanding menu bar at the top of the screen to access these sections. The bar then “follows” you down the page as you scroll through the content so that you maintain easy access to the primary sections of the site, as well as search.
How many people access the site using mobile devices?
The use of mobile devices is growing exponentially, and Knox is seeing a similar trend. In January 2013 — for the first time in history — more individuals accessed the internet from a mobile device than a desktop. And our most recent analytics show that 70% of new visitors to Knox’s site access the site on a mobile device. And the numbers keep growing!
Why do I have to scroll so much on the new site?
How many of us scroll through our Facebook or Twitter feeds on our smart phones for minutes at a time? Or read long newspaper articles or look through a photo gallery on our smart phones? Scrolling — either vertically or horizontally — is the primary user experience for the majority of web users today. Our new site takes advantage of this fact. We begin with a large image (our hero image) at the top of the page to draw you in and then add more content — fast facts, profiles, videos, copy, social media feeds, and so on — as you scroll down the page. The more you scroll, the more you’ll learn about Knox. And our footer has been optimized to contain important information, such as our About Knox section, employment information, and the A-Z index, among others.
How do I navigate the new website?
Again, the menu at the top of the website is your primary navigation tool. It contains search, a link to our home page, and the menu button. And it’s “sticky” — it follows you down the page and never disappears. If you can’t find what you need using the menu, try searching for it. Our new search accesses content on knox.edu and in the Offices & Services section on My.Knox. And there’s always the handy A-Z index in the footer that you can use to search for departments, offices, and services.
Where did the faculty/staff and current student gateways go?
One of the best things — AND the worst things — about Knox’s most recent website was that it contained a lot of information. Our challenge was to make our new site appeal more to external constituents, primarily prospective students and their families, with streamlined and accessible content, while still maintaining its status as an integral resource for our campus community. We took advantage of the new (or newish) my.knox portal — something that the College has never had before — and designed it to be a gateway to important campus information and resources for the Knox community. Instead of having separate faculty/staff and student gateways, we now have a single portal, my.knox.edu. All of the information that was found on the former gateways can be accessed at my.knox, along with Offices & Services, your e-mail and other Google apps, the Knoxletter blog, current events and campus news, weather information, photo-of-the-day, and more. Simply bookmark my.knox.edu or look for it in the menu on knox.edu.
How can I find the resources formerly found on the faculty/staff and current student gateways?
This information still exists on my.knox.edu–it can be found on the left-hand side of your screen and is organized as it was previously under the headings Academic Resources, Faculty Resources, Student Services, Forms & Requests, Policies & References, Activities & Life on Campus, and Transportation.
Does Offices & Services still exist? Where can I find it?
Yes, it is also found at my.knox.edu at the top of the left-hand navigation. It can also be accessed on the new site’s A-Z index.
If I can’t find something, what should I do?
We recommend that you try searching for it first. Our search engine searches both the knox.edu website and the Office and Services section of the my.knox.edu portal. And if that fails, you can always contact our web team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is responsible for updating web pages?
Much like a Knox education, our website is human-powered! Thanks to our Content Management System (CMS), many members of the campus community share the responsibility of updating the Knox College website. The Office of Communications web team, in consultation and cooperation with various campus departments and offices, oversees the primary marketing content and pages found on knox.edu. Individuals within offices and departments oversee and publish the content found within my.knox.edu. So if you see out-of-date content on the site or see something that needs to be corrected, you can e-mail us at email@example.com, and we’ll make sure the message is passed along to the appropriate office or person.
Whom should I contact if something doesn’t work?
Our web team — Cheri Siebken, director of digital communications; Tyler Emken, web content specialist; and James Stevens, director of web initiatives — can help you out with your technical and content needs. Simply e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, and someone will be in touch very soon.