The UW-Stevens Point website (www.uwsp.edu) was
updated this semester by web and media services students to increase its
compatibility with mobile and tablet devices.
Senior web and digital media development major,
Jack Blanke, was tasked with optimizing Sharepoint (a website management
service) for non-computer devices when a new website template was found for the
“It started off as just a research project, where
Sharepoint as we had it wasn’t doing the best job on phones as we wanted. It
became this new homepage, and then everyone else came in for this full effort
to redo everything,” Blanke said.
Blanke worked on the website along with senior web and digital
media development majors Kaitlin Schuman and Will Ray.
“We placed a lot of importance on asking questions to students on
what pages they visited most on mobile and what would be the most useful on a
mobile site,” Schuman said.
The students used the input from their peers and were allowed to
implement it as they saw fit.
“A lot of the people who make decisions on the website are people
who don’t use the website or who aren’t sure of what students want, or they
think they know what students want, but what we want is a little different,”
Blanke said. “This was interesting for us because we had a lot of control and a
lot of say.”
The rise in mobile phone usage was the primary catalyst for the
changes to the website.
“It’s really exciting when people go to the mobile website and
say, ‘Oh, it’s actually easy to navigate,’ and that’s most of the feedback
we’ve gotten. Mobile browsing is a lot more frequently used,” Schuman said.
Along with the improvements to mobile browsing, a uniformity was
added to the visual look of the website.
“We were interested in creating a new formalized design. All the
new pages have that purple branding across the top now, and the banner has the
same format along with the navigation on the side with a footer on the bottom,”
“The point is so that you go to a university site and know that
you’re on a UWSP website,” Schuman said.
Ray said that removing drop-down boxes which confused and annoyed
users was another important change made.
“With this new design and its consistency, people know where to
look for things on the website. It’s a lot clearer,” Ray said.
The web and media services students are actively working on
updating pages to the new style and are developing more features for faculty
sites. The students are open to any input on other aspects of the website users
would like to see improved.
think it’s important for people to know that we welcome feedback. We always
want to hear about it,” Schuman said.