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APSU.edu gets ‘extreme makeover' of its own

You might have noticed APSU.edu, the Universitys official Web site, has a new look of its own. Thursday afternoon, Web Designer Steve Wilson, Public Relations and Marketing Office, launched the renovated site, whose homepage offers a peek at the Universitys new recruitment campaign.
You might have noticed APSU.edu, the University's official Web site, has a new look of its own. Thursday afternoon, Web Designer Steve Wilson, Public Relations and Marketing Office, launched the renovated site, whose homepage offers a peek at the University's new recruitment campaign.

This summer the “Way to go” slogan and directional signs that have been a part the University's marketing campaigns for the past five years will be retired. In their place, you'll find a new slogan—“Find Your Place in the World”—and plenty of bright colors, photos of current students in motion and backgrounds of sky and grass. It's a campaign that also focuses on the word “go”—literally a call to action for prospective students.

In her introduction to the Web site, APSU President Sherry Hoppe writes, “The new look of our Web site reflects a campus on the movea campus where students can make the jump to anywhere they want.”

Although the campaign was conceived by Quarles Tombras Advertising in collaboration with APSU's Office of Public Relations and Marketing, Wilson was charged with translating the look and feel of the campaign to the Web site. Since late January, he has worked offline, focusing on the renovation and simplifying navigation on the site.

“The general consensus was that we wanted the University's new homepage to be recruitment-based,” says Wilson. “Before, the homepage contained links that brought too much information to the forefront for too many different audiences.

“We wanted the new homepage primarily to target prospective students, mirror the clean design of the new recruitment publications and simplify navigation on the site.”

Where the previous homepage was covered in links, the new one offers site entrance to four defined audiences: future students, current students, alumni and friends, and parents and visitors. You'll also find the “A-Z Index,” a search engine, campus news and “Quick Links,” which offers a drop-down menu of popular sites.

OK, so where's the special entrance for faculty and staff?

“With the switch to Banner and Luminis coming soon, we've created customized portal pages for faculty and staff,” says Wilson. “Instead of navigating from the homepage—which would take several clicks—they can enter their MyAPSU page (http://my.apsu.edu/facstaff.asp), and most of the info they need will be one click away.”

The MyAPSU page contains the following information:

•access to faculty/staff e-mail via the Web;
•campus news;
•campus event calendar;
•local weather conditions;
•quick links to various sites in academic services, faculty/staff services and campus involvement;
•national and local headlines;
•entertainment listings;
•connection to online classes;
•PeayBay point listing;
•a link where you can provide feedback on the site and a general campus poll.

In addition, there's a “My Links” area where you can customize the links on your page. Just log in to that area, type the Web address of your favorite site, and it becomes one of the permanent links on your page.

Once faculty and staff get used to visiting the MyAPSU site for their information, Wilson hopes they'll use the link at the upper-left corner of the page to make it their homepage. “These portal pages were developed for the convenience of both faculty/staff and students. I encourage everyone to use these pages instead of the University home page.”

“We haven't taken any information away,” says Wilson. “We've just simplified the homepage so that it speaks to our external audience. We receive more than 750,000 hits per month to the homepage alone. Most of those hits come from off-campus. The Web is becoming the most visible important recruitment tool for the University.”

Although the homepage and secondary pages feature the new look and navigation, most of APSU's departmental and faculty pages will remain the same.

Already the new site design is making news. Yesterday, William Winstead of the Tennessee Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (TACRAO) posted the following message to the organization's listserv members: “I just wanted to give kudos to Austin Peay State University and the new look (of) their Web site. If you have a chance between orientation, registration, summer school and vacation, check it out … Great job, guys!”

While the launch is behind him, Wilson knows that work on the new Web site has just begun. “We chose to introduce the site in the summer, so that we can troubleshoot and make any necessary changes before fall,” says Wilson. “We want to keep the homepage simple and clean, but we can add links to the secondary pages. And if faculty and staff have links they'd like to see on MyAPSU, I'd be happy to add them.”

Haven't seen the new site yet? What are you waiting for? Visit http://www.apsu.edu now!
—Rebecca Mackey