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Ohio State redesigns home page, includes social media sites

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When redesigning the Ohio State website, experts knew that some things are better left unchanged.
“We purposely did not change some things because they seemed to be working,” said Ted Hattemer, senior director for University Marketing Communications.
OSU’s website, www.osu.edu, converted to a new design at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 24.
“Enough change was happening at the university that really mandated a new osu.edu,” Hattemer said.
Changes like the semester switch created the “perfect storm” that led to the website redesign, he said.
One of the more apparent updates to the site is the gray background and scrolling feature images at the top of the page.
OSU’s Twitter feed @OhioState was also added on the homepage.
“The way we’re managing news and events is all coming from our Twitter feed,” Hattemer said. Specific tweets from the university’s twitter appear on the homepage to highlight upcoming events.
Some students were excited about the site’s use of Twitter.
“I think that’s great,” said Brittney Batcho, a third-year in human development and family science. “It’s quicker, it’s easier, it’s much more effective than emails.”
Two featured YouTube videos were also added to the homepage, and students can access all of OSU’s YouTube videos.
At the bottom of the homepage is a larger footer with more links. This gives the site better search engine optimization, Hattemer said, allowing content on the site to be more easily accessed through search engines like Google and Yahoo.
Some things, like the menu tabs and top navigation, did not change on the site. The top navigation includes links to BuckeyeLink and Webmail.
“That was really important to us, to not destroy the paths that people use” to get to the information they need, Hattemer said.
All tabs now have “mega menus,” he said. “When you mouse over a tab, it replaces almost all of the feature image with many more links,” than what was available on the previous site.
Some students noticed the site’s changes but were only aware of the more visual aspects of the redesign.
“I just noticed a lot more gray,” said Mary McKay, third-year in city and regional planning.
The main motivation for the site redesign was to “upgrade the content management system,” Hattemer said. “We really needed to streamline the process.”
This presented “the opportunity to refresh the look and feel of the page,” he added.
Hattemer led a team of three web designers and a web editor. Each are full-time employees of the university in charge of managing mobile software and social media in addition to the redesign, he said. The university did not hire any other people to specifically work on the website.
In approaching the redesign Hattemer said his team looked at other colleges’ and universities’ websites and “selected what we think will work best for OSU students.”
The process for the redesign began more than a year ago, but Hattemer said the project really “started heating up in the summer.”
The site launch was originally scheduled for before the start of Fall Semester but was pushed back to when class would have began had OSU been on quarters, he said.
However not all of the site’s sub-pages have been incorporated, Hattemer said.
It will take the “next 12 months” to work on integrating all of the pages and working out any technical problems, he said.

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