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Ta-da! New website unveiled this morning

March 11, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Beginning today, the Beloit College website has a whole new look−one that we intend for users to find more beautiful, simpler to navigate, and easier to love.

The look, designed by the college's web services team, is quite a departure from the past appearance. It is, in fact, unlike any other higher ed website out there.

"We wanted to design a site that, beginning at the main page, made clear that this is a place that is always in motion," said Melissa Dix, web and new media director in the Office of Communications and Marketing. "Yet we also want the larger site to be responsive; to work as well on a phone as on a tablet or desktop."

The new design was approved by the college’s web committee—a group of faculty and staff from across campus—in late January.

Some things to know:

1. The content didn’t change. When the college last did a major overhaul of the site (in 2008) a major content pruning and planting period was completed. This time around, that wasn’t necessary, as users campus-wide control the lion's share of their property. Only the look of the page (the width and orientation of elements) changed. And even then, the goal was to make those changes in ways that feel right and that fall into a uniform pattern site-wide.

2. Search is king. One of the major changes to the site is that the navigation is now much, much simpler—and always with you. The main navigation bar will “float” as you scroll down, meaning that visitors will have a search bar and links to www.Beloit.edu’s top four sites (based on analytics over the last several years) at any time.

3. The new design is, well, new. Amanda Frisbee, web designer and developer at Beloit, took inspiration from some of the web's newest and most innovative websites when creating this design, which was one of a half dozen that were ultimately considered.

4. But the design is also borrowing from current, leading-edge thinking about what's next. As a part of its work, the web team paid close attention to what the tech and design communities have been doing, and calling for, in recent months. You can read some of what they read below.

The Next Web - 10 Web Design Trends You Can Expect to See in 2013

Gizmodo - 13 Design Trends for 2013

Net Magazine - Twenty Top Web Design & Development Trends for 2013

5. Nothing is forever. While the college's web committee was very enamored with the new design and the thinking behind it, the site will continue changing and evolving. Users will be asked to share their thoughts, questions and praise with the web team throughout the site. Don't be shy.