Highlighting recent CMU website enhancements
Improving how users experience, engage with and utilize cmich.edu never stops.
"It's the digital equivalent of painting the Mackinac Bridge," said Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer John Veilleux. "The job is never done. Since the launch of the new site last winter, University Communications' Digital Strategy team — along with our partners in the Office of Information Technology and more than 250 collaborators from every part of campus — have worked together on a continuous series of updates, fixes and enhancements that are making a huge difference in terms of recruitment, supporting current students, and sharing and growing CMU's strong sense of community."
One of the most significant areas of progress has been implementing features that help users navigate to the information they need. Those features include:
Breadcrumb trail - this popular feature that was part of the old SharePoint site has been reintroduced on select pages to help users know where they are within the website.
Auto-opened child pages in left navigation - In the desktop view, users now see more key pages in the left navigation because child pages are automatically opened/expanded when a page loads.
A to Z department index - a link to an alphabetical index of all departments is located within the top, "search burger" menu and the footer of every page.
Faculty and staff directory – another addition to the footer is a link to CMU’s faculty and staff directory that can be filtered alphabetically, by department and other categories.
Sitemap - an extensive cmich.edu sitemap was also added to the footer to improve "crawlability" by search engines like Google for pages deeper in the site.
Programs link update - the "programs" link within the gold navigation bar on all college webpages now points to a filtered list of the college's academic offerings.
Infinite scrolling v. pagination in Program Finder - the Program Finder results page no longer has numbered page options to take users to more results. Now, additional results automatically populate the loaded page, allowing the user to scroll rather than click to view more.
Search Engine Optimization Training - digital strategists have held a series of trainings on best practices for SEO to improve search results.
Internal Search Algorithm - developers on the digital team have made adjustments to how the internal search algorithm weighs different content types.
The digital team is in the early stages of building a "mega menu" into the primary navigation. A mega menu is a drop-down menu with multi-level expansions allowing visitors to reach the deepest parts of a website through the main menu.
"Our focus on improving the user journey and making it easier for people to find what they are looking for is having an impact," said Lauren Sawyer, associate director of digital strategy. “Our optimizations are far from complete, every day we come into work and think of ways to improve the site. We have invested a lot of time researching ways to improve search functionality. One success already implemented is our faculty profiles now rank at the top of Google search results."
Other enhancements rolling out will allow for the inclusion of videos on college and department homepages, simplifying how campus events are added to the site, and color contrast updates that advance the accessibility of the website for users with certain visual impairments.