After 14 months of development, a revamp of UC Berkeley’s website, berkeley.edu, went live Saturday with a new, streamlined design.
The previous design of the gateway website was launched in 2007 and had not seen a major update since. The project officially began in December 2013 after an informal year of planning.
According to a press release, the front-end development cost $70,000 and was carried out with local web development company Rolling Orange, which has also worked with the UC Office of the President and Stanford University.
During user-experience research, Ram Kapoor, UC Berkeley’s executive director of marketing and digital communications, found that many believed the website “didn’t match the stature of UC Berkeley as a leading modern university.” Current and potential students, parents, staff, faculty and the community were consulted throughout the process to determine what was needed: a more accessible and intuitive interface.
“The trends on the Web have been to move toward more visual, more multimedia, more shareable content,” Kapoor said.
Through a feed featuring campus stories and events, he says, visitors — who mostly consist of prospective students — will be able to see the impact UC Berkeley is making on the world as well as a “sense of what life might be like at Berkeley.” Kapoor hopes the website — which he compared, in a press release, to the “front porch” of the university — will convey a sense of what the campus embodies.
UC Berkeley alumnus Shawn Park, of the class of 2014, believes that the previous website tried to cram in too much information in an unorganized way and that such promotional websites should “inspire the user to learn more about the institution.”
He pointed out that Cornell University’s website, in its “less conservative” approach, does a better job of appealing to the user’s emotions and utilizing the entire screen space.
“I like the direction of where it’s heading,” Park said in regards to the new website. “In terms of emotional appeal, it’s a little bit better than before … but it’s not quite enough.”
Kapoor hopes that this change will be the “last site redesign ever,” thanks to the new flexibility of the site, built for easier updates and renovations.