If Shakespeare was around in the 21st Century, he might have posed the question: what’s in a website? Wouldn’t any website with any CMS function equally well? The answer, of course, that not all websites are created equal and TMCC’s website is about to get a serious revision for the better.
As the first point of contact for prospective students, a website is an integral part of any marketing plan. Yet, it also creates a formal and structural statement of our institutional identity—the visual and literal articulation of our mission and accomplishments. According to a recent article in Inside Higher Ed, “...the internet has fundamentally changed the way students and institutions seek out and select each other”—in other words, the website initiates what (hopefully) becomes a longer conversation about a student’s academic and professional aspirations and how a particular college can uniquely address those wants and needs.
Yet, research shows that poorly designed websites (that don’t load quickly or that have complicated navigation) can lose potential students within seconds. And so, in many ways, a website isn’t “just” a website: it is the embodiment of the college experience. How it is constructed—how it looks and how easily information can be found—is a reflection of the college itself.
As of June 20, that reflection will get a serious polishing thanks to an upgrade project undertaken by our Web Services team to move the website from a legacy content management system (or “CMS”) to a new CMS known as “Drupal.” According to drupal.org, currently, 28% of .edu domains are powered by Drupal, with nearby College of Southern Nevada and UNLV who also use the open source platform and reportedly love it.
“Drupal is a proven, scalable and flexible enterprise-level platform for developing higher education websites, and should have no problem handling our present and future website needs,“ said Cal Anderson, Webmaster.
Fun Facts about the TMCC Website
To most of us looking in from the outside, it might not seem like such a big deal to update the TMCC website. Looks can be deceiving, however, which is why our team unearthed some little-known facts about the website that might grant a more accurate view of the size and scope of this incredible accomplishment.
Currently, TMCC’s website contains over 6,000 pages, over 2,000 pdf files, and nearly 2,500 images. In the past year, 6.1 million page views have occurred across these pages—67% of them from desktop computers and 33% from mobile devices.
These features—and pages—have all received revisions that include converting their structure to the new Drupal format as well as a refresh that will include revised navigation menus, larger header images, more visuals and imagery, related news stories on department pages and the consolidation of information onto certain pages.
Specifically, new features to watch out for on June 20 include:
- A revised TMCC home page, that includes a seasonal video of our campus and students
- A way to search for classes directly from the homepage
- An updated Academics page that offers users a search tool and more visual elements
- Call-out boxes on many key landing pages and department homepages
- Integrated news and calendars on department pages
- Updated Admissions, Calendar, News, Library pages and more
“What won’t be changing is the ease of use of finding information and navigating our website. Nor will the overall look and feel of the website be changing all that much. We wanted to keep around the parts of our website that worked well and users like, but make it more visually appealing and more modern. The site will also remain mobile-friendly and be accessible to all,” Anderson said.
The Next Steps
After June 20, the work will continue with the development, administration, and support of the new website, which will include polishing and fine-tuning the front-facing websites while refining the supporting code on the backend. In the Fall, the Web Services team will also begin training sessions for our web content providers, and initiate weekly department meetings to review and revise written content for clarity, concision, and purpose.
For more information about the new website or on-going projects by our Web Services team, contact the department at 775-673-8267.