The www.utexas.edu home page averages roughly 170,000 unique visits (and more than 4.3 million hits) per day, and is the largest opportunity the university has to communicate with a varied audience of faculty, staff and students, prospective students/parents, alumni and friends, corporate partners, media and the public. UT Direct, the business portal for the university, receives five to six million hits per day and is the central resource for students, faculty, staff and the broader community’s online business with the university.
The redesign of our sites should reflect the opportunities these sites present. They should create and promote resources that are content-rich, visually dynamic, easy to navigate, enabled with the latest Web and multimedia technology, and representative of The University of Texas at Austin as the great university we know it to be.
These redesigns should also strongly reflect the constituencies these sites serve. This process and its end product should engage a wide range of perspectives and business interests from across the university. The Refresh process will be executed through the effort and collaboration of:
- Working groups focusing on information architecture, design, and technical implementation;
- A Refresh committee providing oversight and feedback to the overall process;
- The university community, whose participation and input will be crucial throughout the process.
The Refresh effort will bring in working groups from across campus to evaluate the current sites’ design, architecture and use; explore Web publishing trends; and investigate best practices at other universities. These groups will engage the university community to share their visions of how the next-generation Web for the university will look.
The Refresh committee, representing faculty, staff, students, alumni and departments, will provide oversight to the full process, regularly evaluate progress, and provide key feedback and input on information architecture, design and strategy decisions.
This committee will oversee the entire Refresh process, including the following milestones:
- the new Know Web site that will highlight the excellence and relevance of the university’s faculty, staff and students;
- the selection of a content management system for Web Central;
- the selection of a designer;
- the recommendations for Web Central based on research and information architecture work;
- the review of designs for Web Central and UT Direct by key stakeholders;
- the selection of a design;
- the public review and comment on the design implementation;
- and the release of the refreshed Web Central and UT Direct Web sites.
This work will take place from fall 2009 through the fall 2010. Following delivery, a smaller, standing committee will be designated to lead the ongoing oversight and policy of the central site and home page.
The Refresh committee will include representatives from:
- Colleges and Schools
- Division of Continuing and Innovative Education
- Graduate Students
- Information Technology Services
- Intercollegiate Athletics for Men and Women
- Office of Admissions
- Office of Development
- Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost
- Office of the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
- Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
- Office of the Vice President for Public Affairs
- Office of the Vice President for Research
- Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs
- Texas Exes
- Undergraduate Students
- University of Texas Libraries
- University Operations
Together, Refresh working groups and the Refresh committee will be tasked with developing policy and procedures to govern the sites and making recommendations for ongoing workflow, updates and maintenance of the site post-delivery.
While the Refresh committee will have primary oversight, this process should be open and include feedback throughout the university community. Student, faculty and staff resources should have visibility into the planning stages, as well as into the development of design concepts, site architecture, programming elements, usability evaluation and delivery.