By Berjan, Sarah
After letting its website lag behind for a decade due to a lack of resources, City College overhauled its home page on Sept. 11 in a first step toward delivering a brand new website next year.
The website’s redesign, expected to debut in May 2019, will improve the website’s hosting solution, content management platform, user journey navigation, interior designs and wireframes, as well as new City College brand graphics content development, Information Technology Vice Chancellor Daman Grewal said.
In addition to being mobile-friendly and meeting the standards of the American Disability Act, the website will have quality assurance and beta group testing before its official launch, Grewal added.
Its development will be based on employee, student and prospective student surveys, as well as focus groups that will inform the final design.
“We are very excited and look forward to launching a brand new website from the ground up, which will focus on our student experience so that our student community will have all the essential information about City College, and easy enrollment access right at their fingertips,” Grewal said.
The update last month streamlined the home page, giving it a simpler layout. It also offers a live chat function that connects website users to the college’s General Student Services Support Team on Ocean Campus.
However, the upgraded facade belies a website with many outdated web pages. On the Ocean Campus Associated Students webpage, more than half of the senator positions — which were filled weeks ago — are currently listed as vacant. And although the college’s Diversity Committee met eight times last year according to the college’s participatory governance calendar, no minutes have been posted, and only two meetings have their agendas posted.
Academic computing employee John Kennedy said no one could be blamed for the web page neglect.
“It is [that way] because it is so hard to keep up with that stuff. It was one guy’s full-time job, but he couldn’t even do it,” Kennedy said. “As long as it relies on people and they’re not professional web people, it will always be that way.”
Since 2008, budget cuts have prevented the college from hiring content managers for the website, former broadcasting department chair Francine Podenski said. She also chaired City College’s former Communications Committee, which had pushed for the installation of a new web system.
From 2007 to 2009, Visual Media Design instructor Beth Cataldo worked on redesigning the website by becoming its project manager and content strategist. Aaron Holmberg, now a City College risk manager, would later help fix up the website as well.
“A lot of people complain about the website, but nobody seems to promote the idea of hiring a staff of five or six content managers for keeping track of that many pages,” Podenski said. “San Francisco State University has a team of what I believe to be six or seven content managers.”
Each academic department manages their own webpage by writing and submitting new information about itself through their webpage’s content management program.
“Behind the homepage lies several thousand pages,” Podenski said. “Each area has a go-to person. Without a [dedicated content management] staff, this frustration will continue,” Podenski said.