The John Carroll University website has been undergoing consistent changes since spring of this year. These changes are intended to make it more navigable and user-friendly. Just one year after being hired, John Carfagno took charge of this project. To assist in this task, Carfagno hired Mike Richwalsky, an experienced university website designer. This team has made tremendous progress in the reformatting so far. As the website continues to undergo changes, it is important that the designers stay away from programs like Dreamweaver, which was used to create many of the current pages on the site. “Off the shelf” programs like Dreamweaver are too difficult to use without computer savvy and limit the number of people able to update and change the website as necessary. In addition to the easy navigation aspect of this new system, it will also save money. Using free software saved $60,000 that can go to other needs. Most importantly, the website is also a major publicity engine for the University. In this age of reliance on technology, having an updated website is crucial for John Carroll to maintain its competitive edge. Potential students evaluate schools entirely through the Internet; and if the website does not showcase the University well online, then many of these students will look elsewhere without ever setting foot on campus. The changes have already paid off. The interest in the website has increased significantly in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois, four states from which John Carroll admits a majority of its students. Linking the site to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter has also been pivotal in drawing attention to John Carroll from prospective students. Although these are two of the main social network sites, it would also be valuable to expand the number of links to the John Carroll homepage. This will boost online interest even more. Moving forward, they must continue developing the website by revising other web pages on the site. Many of the current links are out of order or link to an outdated site. These problems range from department homepages to student organization pages. Although updating these may be a time-consuming process, it will be an essential step in creating a comprehensive and useful website. Overall, the website is becoming a much more practical tool for current students, potential students and all of the organizations on campus. It has already increased interest in Ohio and other feeder states, and continued improvements will sustain and raise this interest. With the changes, John Carroll’s website is a much more competitive and realistic feature of the University.
November 11th, 2010