Redesign of to separate student portal, website; iCentral to be eliminated for 'Central Link'

The university website redesign is close to being completed, but may have to wait until the end of the academic year until it is ready to launch.

Vice President for Information Technology Roger Rehm said the purpose of the redesigned website is to target individual audiences instead of flooding them with unnecessary information.

ICentral, launched in summer 2010 to replace the former CMU portal, will be replaced with Central Link for student use. The new will be redesigned to serve as a public tool for resources and information on the university, Rehm said.

“We are proposing to rebuild the site so it’s specifically for the public," he said. “Also to build and replace iCentral with a much-broader Central Link site so that it is really constructed specifically for the CMU community.”

Renee Walker, associate vice president of public relations and marketing, said a new website has been one of the university's goals since University President George Ross' transition to president in 2010. The new site, a $550,000 project, will provide a central location to gather and communicate information that is specific for the user.

“There is information the public really wants to know, and we should provide that user experience to get the information they need," Walker said. "Internally, there is information folks need to know, and we should give them that opportunity to have a good web experience and get the information they need to be successful."

She said most content located on and iCentral, as it stands today, doesn’t hold content in a way that can be used easily. When the new debuts, the iCentral address will be replaced.

“Central Link will be something entirely new,” Rehm said. “The primary focus of the project is to put us in a position where we can clarify that message, so we can start to target individual audiences and make sure we are telling them the things they need to hear, and presenting them with services they need to find.”

While will be focused on the public, only the new Central Link will know if someone is a student, faculty or staff member when they're logged in.

“Central Link will become the only place that anybody at CMU with a portal login needs to go to get information,” Rehm said.

Students will be able to personalize the system to their major, with access to grades and scheduling.

Mary Jane Flanagan, executive assistant to the president, said Central Link will give people new opportunities that iCentral wasn’t capable of.

“There will be some really cool tools that will give each of us (the ability) to personalize the site to fit our needs,” Flanagan said. “It will be more clear what the potential of the site is when it rolls out.”


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