Home (page) improvements
The next time you have your tablet or smartphone in hand, check out vcu.edu. Last week, we launched a slew of updates to the home page to improve the mobile experience. Here are some highlights to whet your appetite:
- Overall site performance: The file size of the page has been reduced by nearly 90%, which means the page loads more quickly. The page layout also takes up less vertical space on mobile, so you don’t have to do as much scrolling.
- Home page feature slideshow: On tablets and smartphones, the format has been overhauled to improve legibility and establish a more obvious affiliation with the image.
- News section: This section is now leaner and sleeker on mobile: headlines fit within an even smaller portion of the page and are just as legible as before.
- Events and Connect sections: On touch devices like smartphones and tablets, each item inside both carousels now snaps nicely into place when you swipe to scroll.
- Who We Are section: Videos, which were previously hidden on smaller mobile screens, have been resurrected. Plus you can now advance directly to the photo you want by tapping the handy-dandy thumbnails.
Below are before-and-after screen grabs showing the mobile view of the VCU home page’s feature and news sections.
Links, links and more links
There are a lot of links on the VCU home page — we want anyone who goes there to be able to find what they’re looking for. But trust us, there are many, many more that did not make the cut.
Under “students” and “faculty and staff” in the navigation, you’ll find the most useful links for each of those audiences. But those lists can’t be a mile long, and there are plenty of other helpful links. So we’ve added two new pages that provide links to useful resources for students (www.vcu.edu/vcu/students.html) and faculty and staff (www.vcu.edu/vcu/facstaff.html). If you think we’ve left out something important, let us know. We’re hoping these resource pages will get you where you need to go.
We’d like to thank the Academy
No, just kidding. We’d like to thank you, our users. In the two months since the site launched, we’ve heard from dozens of you, and your comments and suggestions have been much appreciated.
Your feedback has helped steer us as we’ve made changes to the site. We slowed down the speed of the home page slideshow when you told us that it was moving so fast it was making you dizzy. We brought back the direct link to myVCU because it was sorely missed. Many a time, you let us know when a link was broken or something wasn’t working on a particular browser, and we’ve rushed to fix it. Your feedback is helping us think about the big picture as well as the tiny one, and we hope you’ll continue to weigh in.
We like to think of the VCU home page as a living, breathing thing. It will keep evolving. With that in mind, we’ll be continuing to work on improving overall site performance as well as the way the site works in older browsers. Weplan to add some useful resource pages to help you get to the information you need. And we’re working hard to improve the mobile experience you have when you visit the site on your smartphone or tablet. As always, we’ll keep track of our progress on this blog.
The VCU community has helped shape this site from start to finish, and for that we sincerely thank you. Now, let’s get back to work!