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Monday, September 2, 2013
by: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will launch a redesigned website designed to provide users with a better online experience, improved functionality and interactive tools.
The new website, found at southeastern.edu, will go live following Labor Day and is intended to help communicate Southeastern's identity as a leading regional university and serve as a recruiting tool for future students.
Led by the Office of Technology, planning for the new website began in late 2012. Students, faculty and staff participated in focus groups and on the planning committee so that all Southeastern stakeholders had a hand in the project.
From graphic design and testing to programming and content writing, the project was largely completed in-house by university staff.
"The new southeastern.edu will enhance Southeastern's online presence and allow prospective students to have a great first experience with the university," said President John L. Crain. "The fact that our own staff executed this project – instead of an outside agency or consultants – represents Southeastern's strengths: hardworking, innovative and a great value."
In addition to the new home page, audience pages were created to communicate specific information to future students, current students, faculty and staff and the community. The redesigned website also features several interactive tools to help users connect with the university, including:
-- Degree Search – a live tool and one of only a few of its kind being used by universities nationwide -- allows users to type a degree name of interest and receive a list of Southeastern degree programs containing the same word.
-- Chat, a feature that connects prospective and current students with the Student Help Desk during designated hours. Plans call for making Chat available for the Office of Admissions, Financial Aid and other offices.
-- University Calendar, which features all Southeastern events from major festivals to small organizational meetings, the calendar can be sorted by category so that users can view only the events most relevant to them.
-- Online Admissions Application, a user-friendly application that allows future students to quickly and easily apply to the university.
The website is also responsive, allowing it to display correctly on any type of device.
"Today, people view websites on everything from desktop computers to cell phones. It was really important for us to make the website accessible for everyone," said Amber DeJean, web CMS coordinator with the Office of Technology and project manager for the redesign.
The website's home page, audience pages and main sections were updated in the first phase of the redesign project. In phase two, the team will assist Southeastern's colleges and departments in updating their web pages. Finally, in phase three, the web pages for all administrative offices and other organizations will be updated.
Frequent visitors to the website should check and update their bookmarks since some
content was reorganized during the redesign.