Magazine On-line [fall 2011]
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Around Campus

Transylvania launches upgraded with new design, features

After more than a year’s worth of design and content upgrades, Transylvania has rolled out the first phase of a redesigned, featuring improvements created to enhance the website’s role as a tool for the world to connect to the university.

website home page

“Our new homepage has sliding photos with taglines and links to feature or news articles or videos to continually promote Transylvania people and events,” Sarah Emmons, associate vice president for communications, said. “We’ve transformed a static homepage to be more dynamic and encourage visitors to come back.”

The three main goals were to simplify the design to enhance visual appeal, improve the text to effectively represent Transylvania, and streamline the pages for easy navigation.

“All aspects of a website work together to make it effective,” Web Development Manager Mariana Shochat said. “A lot of work went into not just the design, but improving the overall experience. That means increasing site functionality and cohesion for all types of visitors, primarily prospective students and their parents.”

Transylvania considers its website to be one of its most effective recruiting tools. Questions high school students typically have about the university are answered quickly and clearly with just a few clicks around the About Transylvania page, which was beefed up significantly to offer a comprehensive picture of the university and Lexington. Students can go to for an interactive campus map with links to pages about the various buildings and areas, or to for an interactive map of downtown Lexington attractions.

On the Student Life section, prospective students can learn about housing options, ways to get involved, campus services, sustainability, wellness, and other benefits of being a Transylvania student.

“We did a lot of work to the student life section with prospective students in mind,” Web Writer/Editor Jesse Darland said. “We think this is a good picture of what life on campus is like for students.”

Other sections of the site have adopted the design change, including the academic, friends and donors, and alumni pages, and the athletics site has moved to its own location, The events calendar, which has a link at the top of the front page, also received a facelift. Users can browse events by moving back or forth 30 days at a time, or they can search for an event and filter their results by type of event—lecture, theater, academic, etc.

Another important feature is a gray “Have a question?” button that hangs on the bottom right of the window and pops out into a text box where users can leave questions, comments, or suggestions to the web team.

“Those responses come directly to us as an e-mail, and we have made changes and clarifications based on feedback we’ve gotten from that box,” Darland said.

Other elements under the hood have been improved as well, including browser compatibility, loading time, a 404 error page that suggests links, and quick searching in the A-Z index.

Phase two of the redesign is now underway, including new academic program and faculty pages, an enhanced campus map, a virtual tour, photo galleries, and more video.

“The website is an extension of our campus,” Emmons said. “Whether you are an alum, friend, or someone who knows nothing about the university, it’s a wonderful way to pay Transylvania a visit.”

What’s that weird box?

Launching further into the age of social media, Transylvania is beginning to use the QR code in publications to direct people to our Facebook page, Twitter, and main website.

Short for Quick Response, the QR code is easily read by smart phone cameras and can store data such as website URLs.

To use the QR code, download a QR code or barcode reader to your smartphone. Launch the application, and point the camera to the code. Your phone’s web browser will be automatically directed to the link.

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