Our Word: New Web site needs to be shaped up

By Gus Bode

The university’s Web site has improved 1,000 percent.

Unfortunately, 1,000 times zero is still zero.

The strongest part of the Web site – the student-produced video – is buried at the bottom of the page next to a floating medallion, a tacky scrolling news feed and a picture of a dog.

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There is no direct link to SalukiNet.

We have to dig around to check our grades, but we can easily access a detailed description of a dog breed.

Maybe the Web hits were pushed up so high today because people couldn’t find anything useful on the site.

For instance, when a user clicks on the “Give Now” button, they are taken to a fundraiser site adorned with a photo of Chancellor Walter Wendler.

Too bad Wendler hasn’t been in office since his very public ousting in November.

The weather link leads to a unique page with a banner from weather.com, which is ridiculous.

And the privacy policy at the bottom of the admissions page still hasn’t been updated since 1969.

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How could SIUC miss the mark so badly?

There is still a lot of work to do on the Web site. We recommend starting over and taking a look at a great Web site from a university that has so many applicants it has to turn students away – SIU-Edwardsville.

We encourage SIUC’s designers to get a copy of SIUE’s Web site and change the colors. Or, they could copy the template from the new siu.edu, which is fantastic.

SIUE’s Web site is modern and hip. SIUC’s looks like it needs a new hip.

There are thousands of students at this university who would love to give the redesign a redesign. Students have already proven themselves as a strong addition to the new University Communications. Perhaps they should be given a fair shot at the Web.

After all, students know what they are looking for in a school. And they’ve probably looked at other college Web sites.

This Web site is certainly different, but it is not much improved.

There doesn’t need to be a committee for this.

There doesn’t need to be a task force.

There needs to be action.

We sincerely hope this is a work in progress. If this is the best this university can do, then it might as well close its doors and write itself off as a loss.

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