BETA then Ever! Columbia U’s Internet Makeover

Change is taking Columbia’s internet presence by storm!

(And it is commonly agreed that this is a very, very good thing.)

Both Columbia University AND The School of the Arts have posted Beta versions of their new websites!  Take a look and let the designers and administrators know what you think. Beta late than never, right?

Let’s take a look at what they have to offer:

Columbia University goes 21st Century Hip…

Until now, Columbia University’s website could have been called a bit, um, archaic. At the moment, it is essentially a pot-au-feu of links. Accessing Cubmail requires clicking on 3 different links – and even finding the Cubmail link on the Students page is no easy task. If a website mirrors the institution it represents, than the current site suggests that Columbia is an unwieldy, disjointed bureaucracy. (Maybe the website reflects the truth…?)

The Beta version of the new CU homepage is more aesthetically pleasing and better organized. Some of the developments include:

  1. A direct link to Cubmail on a drop-down menu at the top of the page.
  2. Social media links on the bottom right hand corner of the page.
  3. Under “Academics” you can find Schools, Departments, Centers & Institutes and Areas of Study, which simplifies the network of Columbia University departments/schools and demonstrates how they overlap.

Most importantly: They have a tab on the lower right hand corner that says “give us your feedback.” So give it. Now. And freely. Others have already started.

The School of the Arts goes Art School Sleek

Columbia’s School of the Arts has also revamped their internet presence. They have overhauled their design and made the site sleek, sexy and easier to use.

  1. They feature large, high resolution photographs of works by and about students and faculty.
  2. They have included tabs for Miller Theatre, the Arts Initiative and the Neiman Gallery and Center.
  3. Under each tab, they offer a description of the department or program with relevant links.

My wish? A more prominent place to provide feedback…the email button at the bottom right-hand corner doesn’t seem as inviting.

***

These are good beginnings for Columbia University and the School of the Arts. These days, the public face of an institution is represented by it’s website. Good websites are like a good pair of jeans: if they fit well, you will look trim, hot and ready for the world. If they don’t, well, people won’t bother to look twice.

If you have any suggestions, let the website administrators know! By contributing thoughts and suggestions, we will jointly build better websites and a more seamless community.

Rosie duPont BC ’10
ArtsLink Associate

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