UT Web Redesign - 2001

It has been over three years since the last redesign of the UT Web site. In conjunction with the ExploreUT event, Texas Independence day Celebration, and the launch of the second phase of the University's capital campaign, UT will roll out redesigned Web site by March 1, 2002.

Deliverables from this project include:

Major Project Components

The redesign is a large project with many large sub-projects or teams that are outlined below with tentative deadlines.

A visual depiction of the major project components and timeline is available in PDF format

Assessment of Current Site - September 28

The site assessment will include:

How Does UT's Site Compare to Other Major University Web Sites

Web Office staff performed a detailed benchmarking of 13 different University Web sites. The benchmarks focused on measurable items such as number and type of links, page size, use of common templates, accessibility and other items. The University of Texas Web site stacks up well in many areas but falls short in others.

In a recent presentation Dan Updegrove delivered to a group of Web publishers, he outlined 9 traits that a first-rate University Web site should possess. These traits appear in the table below with a self-assessment on how UT's Web rates in each area.


How does UT currently rate (1=Poor - 5=Excellent)

Everything important is on the web

The UT site does not have everything on the Web, but has more content than many peer institutions.

Nothing out of date; archival info clearly distinguished from current

While publishers do a good job keeping high traffic pages updated, they often neglect the older pages.

You don't have to know about UT to find out about UT

UT's site is generally considered to be a well-organized, easy to navigate site.

The index is complete; searching yields sensible results

Current search tools are complete, but not as relevant as they need to be. This is sometimes compounded by the number of outdated pages still indexed.

Conforms to latest guidelines for use by those with disabilities

While not all pages at UT are accessible, most are and the University is taking active steps to educate publishers on accessible design.

The site is pleasing and encourages repeated visits

The UT Site is showing it's age and needs to be updated. While it is not ugly, it is one of the least attractive sites amoung the peer group.

24 x 7 uptime, even if power is out in Austin

This is the area where Web Central excels with a 99.995% uptime. That can be improved, but it is still very good.

The servers and information are protected from attack

The servers are isolated from attack and have never been compromised in 9 years.

Cost Effective
Leveraging modern tools to reduce reliance on "raw HTML"

While more publishers are using the latest publishing tools, our server and content management tools need improving.

Search Terms

An analysis of search terms on the UT Web site reveal two content areas that are frequently searched for:

In the redesign, we should consider making these content areas easier to find.

Vision/Mission Statement for UT Web and Goals for Redesign - October 4

The core Web Redesign team will draft a vision for the University Web site and specific goals for this redesign. We wilill need to get sign off from Don Hale, Dan Updegrove, and Johnnie Ray.

Some thoughts on vision in bullet form now:

Goals of Redesign
UT Core Purpose and Values
Web Whitepaper outlining past, present, and future of University Web

Technical and Information Architecture

This task includes identification of technical specifications for site redesign and of changes that should be made to the site to make it easier to manage and navigate.

The following data and statistics are useful for determining technical specs for page and browser version.

User Feedback and Usability

This section conssist of several components:


Creative team will develop branding and 3 - 4 designs that will be submitted toDon Hale, Dan Updegrove and Johnnie Ray by November 2. These designs will go throug testing and feedback and resulted will be submitted to VPs for decision on final design by December 3.

Dave Holston, Resource Development, will be the creative lead. Carol Roberts from ITS and one other designer from ITS will work on the team.

Dave has already prepared a creative brief (MS WORD format)

Content Identification and Development - November 1

New content will need to be developed to meet the goals of the site. This includes the identification of new content that will be needed in the redesign, developing the new content, and a plan for its continued maintenance and review.