Monday, August 17, 2015

Improvements Coming to Tarleton's Homepage

The Web Services team will be implementing improvements and changes to Tarleton's homepage on the evening of August 18th, 2015. Changes you will notice include:

  • New degree search bar below the main slideshow
  • Consolidated "Locations" and "Spotlight/Highlight" sections on wide-screen sizes
  • Gutters, otherwise known as "white space" or "margins" have been made larger on the outside edges of page content for wide-screen sizes

Degree Search and Repository

The most exciting new feature to Tarleton's homepage is the degree search/degree repository. This section will allow prospective students to "shop" our degree program offerings straight from Tarleton's homepage. The visibility of Tarleton's degree programs has needed improvement for quite some time, especially considering that according to the 2014 Noel-Levitz E-Expectations Report, 97% of seniors said they found college websites to be reliable sources of information and over 45% of prospective students and parents listed academic program listings or details as one of their top three priorities when looking at a university's website. Each degree page in the repository lists information that is tailored to what prospective students look for when shopping degrees, including what is "different" about the degree compared to other institutions, what someone can do with the degree after graduation, what special facilities and features are available, and much more. Web Services staff and student interns worked with faculty members and other staff over the past year in order to collect the information for these new pages.

Locations and Spotlight/Highlight Section Changes

Web Services continually evaluates content to ensure that it is being provided in the most effective manner possible. One area of the homepage that has been reorganized includes the "Locations" and "Highlights" sections. On wider screen sizes, these two sections originally took up quite a bit of space, each taking up a full "row" of space across the screen. Moving the two sections to be side-by-side on desktop screen sizes is a more effective use of space. On cellphones and some tablets, these sections will continue to be vertically organized instead of side-by-side.

Larger gutters for wide-screen devices

Content, whether on the web or in print, can be difficult to read or follow if it spreads too wide across the medium on which it is situated. This is the reason why newspapers have stories organized into a "column" format. The same holds true on the web. We discovered that with the increasing widths of desktop computer screens that it would be important to implement "gutters" on our responsive webpages. You will notice on wide and ultra-wide screens that content is now consolidated to the center of the screen, with white-space on the sides. This should allow for better usability on those types of screens.

There are many other technical modifications we have worked on for this implementation, which we will go into with detail in the coming days. The entire Web Services team has put in countless hours for this project and I'm excited for these new features to be available for everyone.

If you have questions about any of the changes, just send me an email at