UI Housing and Dining website has an upgrade in its future


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Come next fall, students may notice a new look to the University of Iowa Housing and Dining website.

Housing and Dining officials say they are in the beginning stages of planning to remodel the website. A survey was sent to several students in an email last month to gain feedback on how they use the current site and what they would like to see improved.

UI Housing and Dining market coordinator Tiffany Clemens said the department will build the new website around the desires of the students.

“[We’re] trying to find out what the students want and how they use it before we can try to think about designing and implementing,” she said.

Scott Seagren, Housing and Dining director of business and technology, said roughly 300 current students responded to the survey before it closed on Nov. 9. He said officials plan to open up a survey to prospective students in the near future as well. The department is just as interested in prospective students being able to find the site useful as it is in current students, he said.

“I also think we realize that the website is one of the primary marketing tools both for Housing and Dining as well as the overall university,” he said. “The Housing and Dining website is, or we want it to be, one of the first websites that a prospective incoming student would refer to.”

Clemens said officials know two of the biggest changes they want to make to the site so that students will find it more helpful, the first being to make the site more mobile friendly. She said it can be accessed on a phone but it isn’t easy to navigate.

“It’s more the look and feel of its presence on a tablet or in a phone,” she said. “It just doesn’t do well right now.”

The second biggest change, Seagren said, is to make information easier to find.

“We’re interested in minimizing is the number of clicks to the end result,” he said.

Several students agree with the projected changes, including UI freshman Stephanie Swieca, who said whenever she has used the site on her phone, she has had problems.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get the PDFs to load,” she said.

She usually uses the site to check menus, she said, and they can be hard to get to. She would like to see a bookmark on the front page for the menus.

UI junior Leiden Cervantes agreed the site needs to do a better job of getting information across and suggested creating links to the most traffic pages with the homepage.

“They’re not so much about providing information as they are about promoting the school’s name and image,” Cervantes said.

UI Information Technology Services recently integrated a new content-management tool for department websites that will make it easier for Housing and Dining to manage the new site.

“It’s something we’ve been implementing over the course of a year and a half,” ITS IT manager Michael Frangi said.

With the new tool, Housing and Dining will type content right into the site rather than typing in code.
Officials meet weekly to discuss plans for new site and how to pay for it, Frangi said. Not much is known at this point, but they have discussed Housing and Dining paying a percentage of one web designer’s salary, he said.

“We’d like to have it done for the next academic year — that’s the goal, and I think it’s a feasible goal,” Clemens said.

In today's issue:

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.