University to launch new website

Cooper Josephs, Writer

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University staff members are working to finalize the new University website, which is planned to go public early this semester. This intensive project is a year and a half into the making.

The University considered many other companies to help remodel the website, but after a thorough selection process, it decided Fastspot, who modeled the old Bucknell website, was the best option.

“We investigated over 20 companies … It’s not all about hiring a company that is technically sound, but hiring a company with a personality that you can mesh well with,” Director of Digital Communications Roberta Diehl said.

Fastspot has worked with many well-recognized and respected retailers and entertainment companies, including Animal Planet and Under Armour.

Fastspot “[presented] a range of exciting design concepts for the new site, and ultimately [delivered] design and technical plans for the new site that met our highest hopes,” Vice President of Communications & Community Relations Pete Mackey said.

A trend in higher education websites has been a redevelopment every four or five years purely due to cosmetic reasons. The University plans get ahead of the curve by creating a new website that is not only different in appearance but also integrates cosmopolitan, interactive features that many other University websites lack.

“The site will include a dramatically streamlined navigation scheme, full-screen photos and videos, intuitive searching, and a user-oriented friendly tone, marking a complete transformation of the site we know today … If we don’t shock people I think we have failed,” Diehl said.

While the new website aims to be simpler and more efficient for current students, faculty, and staff, the redevelopment was highly directed toward prospective students of the University. The number of prospective students who apply without visiting has increased over the years.

The University hopes to communicate the Bucknellian experience through its website.

“Our top audience, as for any higher education website, is our admissions audience because they above all use websites to explore what a university can offer them. But we also want to make it easy for current students to find what they need and even contribute to the site’s imagery and content,” Mackey said.

Kate Rolfes ’16 remembers the impact a school’s website had on her during her college search process.

“A lot of them were just poorly organized and even more looked downright generic and boring. I wanted to go to a school that had a creative flair while also attracting intelligent students, so if a website was poorly-run or organized … I wasn’t interested,” Rolfes said.

Rolfes’ ideology about creating a new website is concurrent to that of the University’s.

“I think the update will be superb in attracting students. The old one already stood out to me as easy to navigate, but for it to be more interactive will set it apart from other school sites, and that’s what I think is really important. If the new website can convey that uniqueness better than the old one, then I think we’ll attract an even better student body,” Rolfes said.

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