WSU unveils new Web page

2:04:57 PM CDT - Thursday, June 12, 2003

Wichita State University's front door on the Internet has a brand new look with new features built into the site make it much more useful to visitors and eliminate some concerns with the previous site.

The new site, known as my.wichita.edu, was created using a new programming style that offers much improved accessibility for disabled users and also allows viewing on non-desktop devices such as Palm Pilots and Internet phones. It also offers customization options for each user. To sign up for a free customizable account, visit http://www.wichita.edu/my/signup/.

As part of the customization, users can choose from a number of new tools, or modules, to place on their home page, including weather information, several newsfeeds, scheduler, calendars and a calculator can be installed on a user's home page. This personalized system, programmed by Web developer Taewook Kang, lets readers choose the tools that suit them best. More modules will be added periodically.

"One thing we've learned about our Web site users is this: Everybody wants something different from their home page," said Bryan Masters, director of interactive communications. "Some people want a larger typeface, and others want it smaller. Some people want more links, and others want fewer. The wish list is endless. This customizable version allows people, within reason, to have the site they want."

Instructions for use of the customization features can be viewed at http://www.wichita.edu/my/instructions.asp.

The first revision that new visitors will notice is the updated appearance of the site. "I love the new look," said Bruce Erickson, executive director of marketing and communications. "We have hundreds of people on campus who manage their own sites on wichita.edu and I hope they all adopt it and adapt their sites. The look and architecture are power-packed with features and options that will help them communicate faster, better and cheaper.

"Our research showed us that this is the kind of look and power that users want, especially younger, savvy users who are used to customizing their sites on Yahoo," said Erickson. "It offers the kind of power and complexity you'll see on higher ed sites like UCLA, Virginia and Penn State.

WSU departments who would like to update their sites using the new look and technology should webmaster@wichita.edu call Masters at 978- 3436.

"The new site will allow us to target specific audiences with information about Wichita State, while allowing the user to customize the site to their needs," said Mark Eby, director of interactive marketing. "The new design should allow us to integrate all aspects of the university Web site into a common look and feel. This is very important to our readers and allows them to navigate through multiple pages that are consistent."

The state of Kansas has accelerated its efforts to bring greater accessibility to the Web sites of all state institutions, including universities.

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