In the fall of 2012, Amherst College launched a redesign of its website, Amherst.edu. Employing “responsive design” principles, the site changes according to screen size, so that pages and navigation are optimally readable on a variety of devices, including mobiles and tablets.
- Most students at Amherst have a smart-phone/device: 1432 smart-phones or iPods were registered by students over the 2011-2012 academic year.
- Mobile devices are projected to become people’s primary internet access device worldwide. This is already happening in the developing world1 and in the the lower socioeconomic rungs.2
- Mobile device access to the college’s website jumped from 5% to 11% of all traffic in one year (2011-2012).
What’s Different in the New Design?
In addition to making the site responsive, we made several other changes:
- We’re emphasizing images in a new way. A new feature allows page managers to add a row of photos across the top of a page. Also, images will automatically scale up and down with screen size. So you can upload larger photos and not worry about how they’ll display on mobile screens.
- More colorful page elements, including a background photo of the Holyoke Range, increase the visual appeal of content, even on text-heavy pages.
- The main menu appears at the very top of the screen, while a purple banner identifies what section of the site you’re in. For instance, all the Mathematics pages will have a “Mathematics” banner.
- A search button in the upper right can be used to quickly search either the website or the campus directories. You’ll find more directories and listings (including Offices & Departments) in the “Other Searches” menu.
Let Us Hear From You
We’d like to hear about your experience with Amherst.edu. Please fill out our very brief form to let us know what you think of the site and how it works for you.
Managing Pages on the College Site
If you manage pages on the college website, please see this help page providing tips on formatting your content for maximum readability across a range of devices.
2. Pew Internet: Digital Differences (PDF)