March 11, 2016
Coming soon to a desktop or mobile device near you: The new Amherst College website.
Scheduled to launch on March 16, the fully revamped Amherst.edu will present College’s residential liberal arts mission in a fresh way for today’s web users, said Chief Communications Officer Pete Mackey. The Offices of Communications and Web Services collaborated over the course of many months with the Fastspot design firm to develop the new site.
This is the first redesign of Amherst.edu in nine years. “Obviously a lot has changed since the current website was initiated,” Mackey said. “The smartphone, social media, the attention to visual media, the hyper-connected society have all become part of life since then. We also know that admissions prospects now consider websites critical to their search process. We want to bring attention to our academic mission and the work of our students, faculty and alumni in a compelling way in today’s digital medium, and to provide every audience with ready access to the information and services they need online.”
Features of the new site include:
- A unique homepage panel, designed to be unlike any in higher education today, that will feature the insights of faculty, students, alumni and the community—and that allows easy sharing of these quotes on social media.
- A simplified structure designed for easy navigation on any device.
- A writing style that is more personal and friendly for web readers.
- Many features celebrating the work of students and faculty.
- New emphasis on the stories of alumni.
- New emphasis on the offerings and benefits of the College’s location.
- Extensive use of imagery and videos.
- A new digital map and virtual tour that will make it easier for visitors to navigate and learn about campus.
“In preparing the new website, we have also improved the speed and accuracy of the search engine, which we know helps everyone quickly find information,” added Director of Digital Communications Roberta Diehl, “and we will continue to monitor important website issues such as page download time, accessibility and usability.”
The website will continue being improved from the moment it is launched, including regular new additions of text, photos and videos and the continual expansion of new elements—such as in-depth stories, extensive slideshows and action-oriented user tools—that the site incorporates.