Special to Daily Sundial
The CSUN website will go through several changes within the start of Spring 2006, with two main goals: to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and to have a consistent look for all campus sites, said Ken Swisher, director of marketing communications.
“We don’t want someone clicking on a link and (think) they’re not on the CSUN website,” Swisher, said.
CSUN President Jolene Koester formed a web committee to get recommendations as on how to improve the university’s website. Swisher was named chair of the committee.
The committee recommended that CSUN hire a web manager to change the site and also give new ideas to the project.
CSUN web manager Joseph O’Connor was hired in September 2005 to develop a better and more comprehensive site for CSUN.
“It is great because we have a person dedicated to this one thing; one person completely dedicated to the job to take us where we need to be,” Swisher said.
O’Connor then helped form a web group to come up with recommendations for the committee.
The committee has been comparing the university website to others ones, and have asked around on campus for opinions on how to improve the website, Swisher said.
O’Connor developed a six-month plan to work on the site, which is expected to be up and running by the end of the spring term, he said. O’Connor wants to develop a template system and give the site a better look, he said.
“We are building a template system to make it easier,” he said. “We want to make sure it is ADA-compliant and consistent with the look.”
The template would have many optional features, and it would allow maximum creativity for the site, O’Connor said.
Other ideas for the website have been discussed and are being considered, said O’Connor.
The committee is working to have CSUN’s logo on every page and being able to click on it to take you back to the home page, which would make things easy, O’Connor said.
CSUN’s logo is the word mark Cal State Northridge which will be placed on every page once the project is complete. Another idea being considered is a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feed.
RSS would put a list of headlines of up-to-date news stories on the web site, O’Connor said.
It would help those who go online to be well-informed, he said.
Podcasting and vodcasting is a premature idea that may be considered, O’Connor said. These features would allow subscribers to watch video and listen to audio of anything, including main lectures, he said.
The university website may need improvements, but it is not a bad site, O’Connor said.
“The website has some good features,” he said. “I like the gateway pages, but it could have a different look and feel. What’s lagging is the main page.”
The website will soon get a facelift, but the web portal is still a confusing part of the site that needs a little bit more improvement, said Molly Campbell, a junior child adolescent development major.
O’Connor is currently not working on the web portal because it is more challenging and difficult, he said.
But Swisher said that the web portal will be discussed sometime in the near future.
“We will be working with ITR to see how we can improve it,” Swisher said. “But it is definitely on our radar.”
With the new changes coming up, Swisher is hoping that students use the website more often.
“I would say I think the website will be something that students will be proud of,” Swisher said. “It will (be) easy to use and exciting to use.”
Oscar Areliz can be reached at email@example.com.