Student designs new high tech, user-friendly campus map
Contact: Christina Chapple
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WHERE IN THE WORLD IS FAYARD HALL? – Finding your way around Southeastern Louisiana University is easier nowdays, thanks to a new user-friendly, high tech map that has been added to the campus web site. The map was created by junior graphic design major Dakota Chichester, right, a student worker on the university’s Web Redesign Team, who is shown discussing some of its features with Web Coordinator Amber Layton, left.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University has added an attractive, high-tech, up-to-date campus map to the university’s web site.
Designed and created by Dakota Chichester of Hammond, a junior graphic design major who is a student member of the university’s web redesign team, the map replaces an older out-of-date version. The new map is easier to use, loads faster, includes all the campus’ buildings and has many interactive features that will make finding locations, buildings and resources easier than ever, said Web Coordinator Amber Layton.
The new map can be accessed through a link on the bottom of the home page or at www.selu.edu/map.
Chichester designed the map site using Adobe’s newest Flash technology. The ambitious project has been two years in the making with Chichester working on the design and programming in between other web redesign tasks.
“The map is consistently in the top ten things that people search for on our web site,” Layton said. “It was on the list of out-of-date features that we wanted to redesign.” After researching other university online maps and gathering input from campus departments such as the University Police Department, and offices of Admissions and Facility Planning, “Dakota took the job and ran with it,” Layton said.
“He has done a wonderful job,” she said. “This is a great example of a Southeastern student using his education and experience to develop something for the entire university community to use.”
A native of upstate New York who moved to the Hammond area three years ago, Chichester said, “I started this when I had first become a student, so I had that perspective of not knowing where things were. I was able to look at the project from the perspective of what a student or a visitor to the university would see.”
On the map’s pale green background, building outlines are pictured in green. When users choose a location from a pull-down list, the map automatically zooms to the selected building, which changes color from green to yellow. In the upper left hand corner of the screen, a photo of the building appears along with the physical address, contact information and hyperlinks to the academic departments, university offices or other programs housed in the building.
For quick reference, users can mouse-over a building and see a pop-up box detailing the programs or departments the building houses.
Chichester also incorporated optional data overlays that can be turned on or off for more or less information. For instance, a student can ask the map to highlight only freshman or only upperclass parking areas. Other overlays identify the location of emergency call boxes, specify handicap parking, and add street names. A special tab provides information for campus visitors.
The data overlays, Chichester said, will make it much easier to keep the map up-to-date. “During the development of this, a lot has changed on campus,” he said. “McKneely Hall and Livingston Hall were knocked down, for instance. Buildings can be deleted from the map in just a couple of minutes. New buildings can be drawn and dropped in.”
Chichester said he has additional features that he would like to add, such as computer lab locations and wireless access coverage. “It is still in beta – a useable, but not finished form – right now,” he said. He and Layton are encouraging users to report their reactions and suggestions through the feedback form on the map site.