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  • Alumni

McMurry University Launches Homepage Redesign



McMurry University homepage redesign, launched August 1, 2011
Students, parents, alumni and fans will now be greeted with a new homepage when they visit the McMurry University website. The new face of their site was launched Monday, August 1, after hundreds of hours of programming, designing and analyzing input, according to University officials.

“Visitors will find that the homepage incorporates brighter colors than McMurry’s previous standard site colors of maroon and cream, increasing the visual appeal of the pages by making them look cleaner and more current,” said webpage designer Mallory Edens. “Every change made was intentional. We wanted to expand the ability of our homepage to distribute information in a highly readable form through excellent organization, while adding some bells and whistles like rotating graphics, photos and multi-level sections that make visitors feel intrigued and want to explore further.”

Featuring revolving banners, tabs, and accordions to allow for increased information and usability, the new homepage design also incorporates multiple organizational structures to accommodate varying navigation styles. Users can access information from the top navigation bar, the textual footer navigation, or the tabbed resource panel that is organized based on the site’s different audiences. An RSS feed also pipes in continual updates from the university’s news blog so visitors can stay up to date on the university’s latest happenings.

“This is a big improvement over the previous home page site,” chief marketing and communications officer Nancy Smith said. “The new site will help our university audiences find the information they need as quickly as possible.”

The homepage redesign, created by the University Relations and the Information Technology departments, includes access to everything from admissions and alumni, to academic courses and links to social media, videos and news.

“Highlighting key resources and expanding our visual appeal were our top priorities when we decided to redesign the site,” said webpage builder Jim Quinnett. “It was a long but highly gratifying process, and we are thrilled with the success and supportive response we have gained since it was launched. We expect that our site will be increasingly successful as we further our renovations by adapting the new design to our lower level pages.”

The design team is currently in the process of building a template for the rest of the site that incorporates the look and organization options seen on the homepage. The design style has also been incorporated into the McMurry News blog (mcmurryuniversity.wordpress.com). The renovations don’t stop there, though. McMurry has a plan in place to overhaul their entire web presence over the next few months.

The alumni pages will be hosted on a new web platform called Blackbaud NetCommunity Spark, which will offer customized features for each alumnus who registers with the service. Calendars will reflect each individual’s involvements, showing events specific to those interests by pulling data from McMurry’s alumni database records. For example, each time a Trustee logs in, he or she will see general interest university events on their calendar, as well as important Trustee items like Board meetings. Users will also be able to register for events and volunteer opportunities online, purchase items like tickets and t-shirts, access advanced online giving options, send electronic postcards, and more.

“I am thrilled to be able to utilize the expanded opportunities Spark will offer both our Advancement office and the alumni community,” said Josh Poorman, Associate Director of Alumni Relations. “It will be much more user-friendly than our previous service, and we will be able to offer many more options and resources for our alumni to take advantage of.”

McMurry University’s sports information department also released a new athletics web site in July, implementing several interactive features and the new War Hawks imagery. The new look includes a larger picture for articles, an interactive internal advertising bar, and the ability to use social media to post comments and “like” articles written for the official web site for McMurry University athletics. Online videos, live stats, live audio / video, photo stores and apparel stores are still available to fans on the new site. Social media links are available, including Twitter (@mcmsports) and Facebook (facebook.com/mcmurrysports), as well as several videos on the McMurry Athletics YouTube channel (youtube.com/mcmurrysports). The McMurry athletics web site is fans’ number one source for news, press releases, game stories, statistics, live video, live audio, rosters, schedules, bios and more.

McMurry has also been working to expand its social media presence. To further this venture, the university has teamed up with Sharp Social Media to evaluate its social media strategy and to bring the many administrators together with a unified communication plan. One of the first elements to be implemented will be welcome pages on each of the university’s official Facebook pages. This will unify the main McMurry page (facebook.com/mcmurryuniversity), the Admissions page, and the pages for each of the schools both visually and by offering links between those pages and to the university website and Twitter page (@mcmuniv). The consultant company will also help McMurry establish messaging guidelines for each page so administrators can work together to communicate with its many audiences most effectively.