Recently, the University of Tulsa rolled out a new website. The website looks considerably better than the old one, has greater functionality, greater navigability and generally comes across as newer than mid-90s.
There is one substantial problem, however, which is not the fault of TU and which will be fixed over a (presumably short) amount of time. Because of how stupefying navigating the old website could be, many students began merely googling the page that they wished to find. Now, as Google’s servers haven’t updated to reflect our website’s new hierarchy, that tactic results in links to the old locations, causing Google’s results to give errors.
That problem should be resolved fairly quickly, when its robot crawls our website, locating the new pages and updating Google’s information accordingly. In the meantime, however, searching the TU website does bring up good results—the item you’re searching for is usually in the top few items. So, although this can be largely inconvenient for some users, it’s easy to get around, and it will be resolved quickly. But there are still other good features, of course!
A major benefit of the new website? The advertising point: Our website is actually marketable. The new one is easy for prospective students and their families to see relevant information, such as degree programs, financial aid, etc. All of these were previously available (and, admittedly, not that hard to find); however, they all had one thing in common: visiting the TU website.
And that was a bad marketing move. I know that when looking for colleges, one of the things that I looked at was their websites. Ours was not impressive, and that did not give me a sense of confidence. Obviously it was not (and should not have been) a substantial deterrent to my attendance, but it did put a sour taste in my mouth. Our new website does quite the opposite. Perhaps I’m merely idealizing it, with the juxtaposition of the old website, but I think that it’s very pretty.
Most impressive of all, however, is just how efficiently the website has been released and updated to fix errors. While it had errors at the beginning, most of them have been resolved. Fortunately, there’s a form at bit.ly/TUwebreport for reporting these errors.
There are a few substantial design flaws that remain, such as being forced to download the 502-page academic bulletin even though I may just want to see the required classes for my computer science major, and so forth. But for the most part, this website is up and running, only seven days after rollout.