Princeton University has made public a preview version of a new design for its main website, www.princeton.edu, and is seeking comment from the University community and other visitors to the site. The preview site is at beta.princeton.edu.
"We're pleased to unveil this new website that is designed to present Princeton in a visually striking, dynamic format that adapts instantly to however someone accesses the site, from a small cellphone screen to a large, high-definition monitor," said Daniel Day, assistant vice president for communications.
The new site is a joint project of the Office of Communications and the Office of Information Technology. Princeton staff are building the site based on strategy and design produced for the University by the New York City firm Digital Pulp.
"In researching and designing the new site over the past year, we interviewed and held focus groups and forums with hundreds of students, faculty and staff members, alumni and others who visit Princeton.edu," Day said. "We also tracked patterns of how people accessed the network of University websites. The new design aims to enable users to get quickly to where they want to go."
The new site features a Google-based search function and a simplified navigation bar available from any point on any page.
The design puts a greater emphasis on photos, videos and other visual elements than are available on the current version of the site, which was launched in 2008 when smartphones and tablets were not ubiquitous as they are today. The new site will also more fully integrate social media connectivity.
Further, the site has been designed with accessibility in mind to provide an inclusive experience to people of diverse abilities in alignment with University goals of diversity and inclusion.
The public preview will last one month, with the University targeting May 18 as the date on which to switch formally to the new site.
During the preview, University staff will be refining the site and building new elements, and there may be brief outages or interruptions in service as coding is updated and as components undergo testing.
Site visitors will find a "Submit Feedback" button on the bottom right corner of each preview page.
"This preview is designed to give members of the University community an opportunity to suggest improvements and enhancements to the design," Day said. "Even after launch in May, we will continue to seek feedback from our students, faculty, staff, alumni and others to help us refine and improve the site to optimize it for their needs."