Debut of redesigned Iowa State website
June 22, 2022
Dear President’s Council,
Next week we will take a significant step in making the debut of our redesigned Iowa State University website — the homepage plus more than 100 other pages.
Last year I charged the website project team (led by Strategic Relations and Communications, Information Technology Services and Admissions) to reimagine our homepage as one that primarily appeals to an audience of prospective students and their families. The redesigned site is strategically scheduled to launch in coordination with Admissions’ next recruitment and application cycle, beginning July 1.
Redesigned website focuses on prospective students
What you will see in the new pages’ look, feel and tone reflects a design and direction that was grounded in research focused on this primary audience. The approach brought forward the features and functions that research including focus group feedback told us was the most important to prospective students. Our approach intentionally serves their needs and desires first.
This CyBox link shows selected screenshots of the new site. Please do not share or forward these images as changes will continue up to the site’s finalization in the next few days.
From day one, the project’s aim was to differentiate Iowa State in a highly competitive landscape. The homepage is our digital front door. Those who show up now will be welcomed inside to explore the innovative, friendly experience that awaits them here at Iowa State.
Starting next week, these primary users will encounter a modern-looking, easy-to-navigate, mobile friendly experience. They will be welcomed into a site designed with accessibility and inclusion as top of mind, thanks to the partnership with our Digital Accessibility Lab throughout the process. An inclusive content advisory group advised the project team during development, and will continue to serve as a resource.
Separate portals for faculty and staff, current students
Audiences other than our primary one certainly remain important. The wayfinding to resources important to them is addressed clearly but in a separate portal approach. Tomorrow’s Inside Iowa State will include an article that talks more about portals for faculty and staff and for current students.
Campus-wide transition to new design
Once the initial website pages launch, I ask for your help in supporting and contributing to this transition.
This fall semester, a set of resources will be made available for all units on campus to transition to the new web design. This step should be an especially high priority for your student-focused, student-serving sites. The transition will do much to make the user experience across our most student-centric pages as seamless as possible while improving the ease and speed of navigation across units.
My request is for you to set a goal to transition the majority of your most student-centric sites to the new design by July 2023.
Resources and more information coming this fall
Fortunately, the project team has worked very hard to make the transition as easy as possible. They have developed an impressive portfolio of plug-and-play web templates, elements and assets. They will offer training, guidance and consultation for your units. If specific situations arise where additional web assets may be required, we will provide the resources to meet the need. The team will also provide a comprehensive web style guide. These resources and more information will be shared with you later in the fall.
I want to thank all the members of the web redesign team for their contributions to date. Next week’s website launch is a big strategic step forward for us.
Thanks to each of you in advance in the role you will play in the coming year. Let’s continue to work together as one university on the strategies and practices that lift up Iowa State, enhance our reputation and strengthen our brand.
Wendy Wintersteen, President