Oct

4

No More Triple-Clicks: Beta Version of New Columbia Website Set to Launch

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There’s a new beta version of the Columbia home page, and it looks spiffy! So much less Columbia blue than its predecessor, so much more Bwog blue! The website was designed entirely in-house with CUIT, took many drafts and about a year and a half to finalize, and was designed to make your life easier. And it seems that it will! Navigation and search functions are much more streamlined and you’ll generally have to click around less to find what you’re looking for.

To wit: if you are a caveperson and still use your Cubmail, good news! You can log in to your email directly on the front page instead of clicking four links to get you there. And in keeping with the times, there are social media buttons for lectures on iTunes, relevant podcasts, and links to Columbia’s YouTube channel. There’s a new search tool for student organizations and an A-Z directory of University-wide departments. The events calendar is on the homepage, too. The main photo on the site is now a slideshow, with each photo linking to relevant content.

And Columbia wants your feedback. Look for a “give us your feedback” link, and if you’ve got something constructive to say (the Columbia central administration isn’t Bwog!), say it there. Happy clicking!

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12 Comments

  1. Anonymous  

    In terms of comparison to other Ivy League sites... it looks pretty terrible. Even Bwog looks better. Why the heck did they stay in house instead of going with a well established firm? I can't imagine this University can't afford to make the very first thing most prospective students see look phenomenal.

    • Anonymous  

      I just took a look at the inner pages and they look SLIGHTLY better... at least in terms of a grasp on the use of whitespace and typography. Menus are sloppy, margins uneven in some places, and the entire header is just disastrous.

      Yes... I'm being terribly critical here but isn't it obvious that this is a major investment for CU and that one should be?

  2. First

    I've been complaining about how outdated and boring the old site looked. I'm glad they've finally updated the site, and it looks great.

  3. ...  

    it's nice and all, but honestly, what use does the main website have for current students? the only time i ever hit columbia.edu is when i wanna look someone up in the directory or check if it's a snow day... both are rare events.

    the webapps that students actually use like the "directory university columbia of classes" and courseworks are still painful to use. (that said, ssol is great... as are the bulletin sites for the individual schools)

    as far as i'm concerned, this is akin to "we printed new viewbooks!" well good for you. most of the navigation offered by the new shell is pretty much circumvented these days by people using search as navigation anyway.

    and.. as far as the difference between comments on bwog and feedback to the columbia central administration? people actually read the comments on bwog...

    • Bookist

      Well, that's really more of an indictment of how worthless Columbia is at developing useful web applications that are relevant to the lives of current students than it is a statement on the worth of the website in general, isn't it? Student demands for a functional portal (e.g. http://medley.isc-seo.upenn.edu/penn_portal/view.php) are repeatedly met with blank stares from CUIT and canned responses of "there's no demand for one." I hope you also noticed the irony there.

  4. WAAAA  

    The headings are pixelated! please fix, that's gross.

  5. Anonymous  

    Wow, um. A year and a half's worth of effort? Seriously?

    There are way too many different fonts (Tahoma, Arial, and Trebuchet MS, oh my!) all over the front page, the left navigation menu seriously needs some styling, and the gradients on the Columbia header are out of place compared to the solid colors on the rest of the site. The buttons in between "University News" and "Events and Announcements" are hideous, and those grey borders need to go. The color scheme is dull. Also, the fact that the right margins on the front slideshow images aren't aligned is pretty irksome. The overall effect looks sloppy and haphazard.

    That was just the front page. The inner pages look alright, but that navbar's a hot mess. The slideshow teasers on the sidebar? Barf. The department listings are an eyesore. What's the point of having light blue/grey alternating colors on the listings if you have to squint your eyes to tell the difference between the two?

    tl;dr I don't like the new layout.

  6. Anonymous  

    It's abominable. They should invest in a good designer.

  7. Tom L  

    The web re-design looks awesome; The design is clean, the information is well organized and the navigation is much improved from the previous site. Well done!

  8. Anonymous

    I can imagine there were many many groups to please in undertaking a project like this.... Think about it... Public Affairs wants to have the wow factor to attract and impress prospective students (and prospective faculty)... Trustees and professor emeriti are probably really old school and think there's nothing wrong with the current homepage and see no reason for it to change at all.. then there's all gradations of current faculty.. current students... adminstration... and so on.. this is so much better than what's currently there and, yes, there is so much room for improvement... someone involved is definitely a font whore.. that's got to be stopped.. but other than that methinks it looks pretty decent.... I especially like the short-route to my cubmail inbox... and the ajax-y thing with greeting me by name is nice too!

  9. Bookist

    Really? DKV again? This is like letting Tschumi design more buildings after Lerner. I know the school likes doing things on the cheap (the old athletic director bragged in 1999 that he'd gotten the athletics logo designed in-house for only $2,000, whereas other Ivy League schools had spent between 40-60,000 on branding redesigns. Except, I don't get the feeling that DKV bills other divisions of the University at any sort of in-house rate. They really should have looked outside.

    Anyway, all of this has happened before, and will happen again:

    *http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2003/10/30/cu-homepage-receives-new-design-sleek-style
    *http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2003/12/08/new-cu-homepage-be-unveiled-dec-12
    *http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2004/01/23/redesigned-web-page-garners-mixed-reviews

    See generally: http://www.wikicu.com/Columbia.edu

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