Launching New University Homepage

January 09, 2018

The new homepage was developed internally by a collaboration of talented staff at CUIT and our Office of Communications and Public Affairs, with extensive input from every segment of the University community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors from outside Columbia, as well. The team was guided by online surveys, in-person focus groups, design-thinking workshops on campus, user testing, and site analytics.

The result is a mobile-friendly, ADA-compliant, including some second- and third-level pages, with simplified navigation and multiple ways to find and access key content.

The redesign also reflects best practices surveyed at dozens of peer institutions, moving many of the items found in traditional "nav bars" to larger, more visible locations on the page. The design highlights what analytics have shown are most popular links used by Columbians and visitors, while maintaining quick accessibility to the A-Z Index and adding a so-called “fat footer” with an extensive list of key sites and resources. Other user-friendly features include an event list that is a direct feed from the University Events Calendar.

    For those both within and beyond our campuses, the new provides a more dynamic platform for a range of storytelling about the University, from video to social media.That depth of editorial content is a key purpose of university homepages that must not only serve the academic community, but also provide a digital front door for users all over the world interested in learning about Columbia.

    The new homepage is built on a customized version of the Columbia Sites platform that more and more departments, labs, and offices are adopting because of its flexibility, cost-efficiency, and most importantly, responsiveness and accessibility to all users, regardless of the device or assistive technology.

    How Is the New Site Better?

    • Uncluttered, modern design reflecting Columbia’s academic and research excellence
    • Mobile-friendly design and content that looks great on screens of all sizes
    • Technical upgrades that assist users with hearing, visual, and mobility impairments in accessing content
    • Simplified navigation and content structure that allows the homepage to expand its editorial mission and showcase research, cultural opportunities, educational programs, and civic engagement
    • Multiple options for locating and consuming key content
    • Real-time content updates
    • User-friendly content management system that makes updating the site easier
    • Enhanced search experience
    • Social media integration
    • More complete and better-organized directories
    • Integration with the University Events Calendar