8/27/2009

F&M Site Named Runner-up in Best of the Web Awards

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The Franklin & Marshall College Web site was named a runner-up in the Education category of Central Penn Business Journal’s Best of the Web Awards. An independent panel of judges evaluated qualifying, nominated organizations based in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties, and selected 45 finalists in 15 categories from more than 200 nominees. Finalists and winners were announced at the awards luncheon held in conjunction with an Internet Summit on July 27.

The redesigned Franklin & Marshall College Web site was launched earlier this year. The site was built to appeal to prospective students and alumni, improve ease of use and enrich content. The site design also urges Web visitors to take action—visit, apply, give, etc.—that will increase their connection to the College.

The Floyd Institute’s Center For Opinion Research conducted a survey in May to measure the effectiveness of the new Web site. Survey results indicate that the site has been successful in accomplishing its goals.

According to the survey results, 69 percent of prospective student respondents indicated that information on the Franklin & Marshall site made them more interested in the College; 78 percent of prospective students and 70 percent of alumni strongly agreed the site was inviting; and more than 50 percent of all surveyed Web visitors indicated the F&M Web site was superior to other college Web sites that they had recently visited.

A Web site, however, is never "completed." Besides having new content to add and new technologies to incorporate, a Web site must continually adjust based on Web traffic statistics, visitor behavior and feedback, and the needs of the College.

For example, the survey revealed that some visitors were missing the customizable “Quick Links” functionality, located on the top right corner of every page. This is an important feature that allows users to choose their favorite and most-used links. An arrow icon has been added to indicate a drop-down list.

Other enhancements to the College Web site suggested by survey respondents have been made this summer, including:

  • Greater visibility of links to the College calendar, news and athletics Web pages on the F&M home page;
  • Access to audience gateway pages from all top-level pages; and
  • Addition of videos to the Admission gateway page and other pages.

More projects that take advantage of multimedia and user-generated content are in the works.

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