The new West Virginia University Parkersburg (WVUP) web site, produced by Image Associates, went live on August 16, 2013, just in time for the first week of their fall semester. Built on WordPress, the site represents a vast improvement over what they had before. Their previous site was entirely static, with html pages being added as needed – no database backend and no central management system. It grown over the years to a include hundreds of individual pages, many of which had languished and stagnated.
Image Associates provided a fresh, modern graphic design coupled with advanced features and functionality catering to the needs of a higher education institution.
Features of the WVUP site include:
- A responsive design that allows the site to display properly on mobile devices without the need for a special mobile site.
- WVUP administrators have complete control over the site’s header images, allowing them to provide a selection of images on a per section basis which the site displays randomly at each page refresh. This provides a unique bit of visual interest for the users while maintaining a level of design integrity.
- Additionally, section icons can also be controlled and modified by WVUP personnel within the content management system. These icons help users maintain a sense of where they are within the site and provide a visual representation of the topics being displayed from page to page.
- A complete Events Management feature, with visual calendars and event lists on the front end allows WVUP administrators granular control over their upcoming events, with the ability to display only those events that are relevant to a particular sub-section of the site.
- An FAQ management system to maintain a database of Frequently Asked Questions, which can be divided into categories for display on relevant pages and can accept new questions directly on the FAQ page.
- A Staff Directory feature for managing and displaying contact information based on department.
- A Downloads manager that creates a central repository of all the vast numbers of files needed by students, faculty and administrators in the course of running a university.
- Google Maps integration for locations and directions.
- A customized backend interface designed to make site management as simple and easy as possible.
- An improved page management system to more easily track the site’s 250+ pages.
- A “mega-menu” navigation system that provides quick access to all those pages for users.
The response to the new design has been positive, and the rollout has been featured in the local media.