Central Michigan University's latest website changes
On behalf of Central Michigan University, Digital Strategist Bob Mabbitt published recent adjustments that have been made to CMU's website as of Nov. 15.
According to CMU, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Veilleux said that since the launch of the new website on Jan. 7, there have been a series of updates made by the University Communications' digital strategy team, Office of Information Technology and over 250 campus collaborators.
Veilleux said these efforts have made "a huge difference in terms of recruitment, supporting current students, and sharing and growing CMU's strong sense of community."
According to CMU, the following highlighted features were implemented to help users navigate the website:
This feature was originally apart of the SharePoint site, however it has been reintroduced on select pages to help users know where they are within the website.
Auto-opened "child pages" in left navigation
When users are in desktop view, they can see more key pages in the left navigation because child pages are automatically opened when a page loads. CMU used the term child pages to describe the page that expands from the parent page. According to LimeCuda, an agency that specializes in website development and web design, an example of a parent page would be an "About" page; an example of a child page is a page that lives in hierarchy underneath the parent page.
A to Z department index
At the top of the websites search burger menu and the footer of every page, there is a link to an alphabetical index of all departments. According to Adobe, burger menu is used to refer to the three lines in the right corner of the website along with the magnifying glass icon. These icons open a navigation side menu.
Faculty and staff directory
In the footer of the website, a faculty and staff directory can be filtered alphabetically and by department or other categories.
Located in the footer of the website is an extensive sitemap made to improve "crawlability" of search engines, like Google, for pages that are harder to find on the website.
Programs link update
The programs page, which can be found in the gold navigation bar of the seven college's web pages, now take users to a filtered list of the college's program academic offerings.
Infinite scrolling versus pagination in Program Finder
The Program Finder results page will no longer have numbered page options to take users to more results. The new changes allow users to scroll to view the additional results, rather than having to click a number to see more.
Search Engine Optimization Training
Digital strategists have held a series of trainings for SEO to improve search results.
Internal Search Algorithm
There have been adjustments made by developers on the digital team to improve how the internal search algorithm weighs different content categories on the website.
Currently, the digital team is working on building a "mega menu" into the primary navigation tool on CMU's website. A mega menu is a drop-down menu with multiple levels of expansion which allow visitors to reach the "deepest parts of a website" through the main menu.
Beyond these newly addressed website changes, other enhancements to be on the lookout for include allowing the integration of videos on college and department homepages, simplifying how to add campus events to the website and updating the color contrast to advance the accessibility of the website for users with certain visual impairments.
According to CMU, Associate Director of Digital Strategy Lauren Sawyer said that the focus for CMU's website has been on improving "the user journey", to make it easier for those to find what they're searching for. She said it is already having an impact, and the work being invested towards improving the website is far from over.