AU's Web site look revamped

The new american.edu Web site, launched three weeks ago, boasts a colorful new title page, links to various AU interests and features University news and updates.

"The new design provides more interaction and a different experience for the visitor to the AU Web site," Media Relations Director Todd Sedmak said. "It provides us the opportunity to provide new information, unlike the former site, and the new site coincides with current homepage trends."

According to Sedmak, redesigning for the new AU Web site (www.american.edu) began in August 2002, when the Web team began looking into a new home page design and establishing a number of templates to keep the main page visually cohesive to the secondary pages students visit.

"Lots of people came together to work on it for over six months and they did a really great job. I think it casts the university into a light," said AU President Benjamin Ladner, who has seen three different University Web sites in the 10 years he has been at AU. "I believe we're a step ahead of the way we present ourselves."

Ladner, Vice President of Enrollment Services Tom Myers, Chief of Staff David Taylor, Director of WWW Operations Michelle Handlir and Director of University Publications Kevin Gratsy decided that there "needed to be a new look to the University Web site," Sedmak said

Handlir and Grasty took responsibility of making the project happen and although the target launch was Spring 2003, Sedmak said. They were asked to further continue their work and develop a refined set of options for the site until the new school year, he said.

The new links for main navigation off the home page include career opportunities, international affairs, life @ AU, WAMU 88.5 FM and give to AU plus a mechanism to rotate a main visual image, and up datable news component with pictures.

Students have mixed feels about the new site, however.

"It's very slow, and sometimes it's hard to gain access to it," freshman Abby Baram said. "It's much more aesthetically pleasing but it has just as many (if not more) dead links than the last one. I use it as a student directory a lot. I also use it to visit student activity Web sites."

Sophomore Marnie Suss feels that the Web site change was good.

"I think it's more professional-looking and more colorful," Suss said. "I use it for Blackboard and to look up events and get links to the library and AU Directory."

Sophomore Steph McInerney agrees with Suss.

"It's a sleek design," McInerney said. "I think it's great for prospective students and even better than the one I looked at when I was a high school senior."

Freshman Samii Khalid feels differently.

"I don't like it," Khalid said. "The other one was prettier and more blue. I think the red makes it look gaudy. Even though navigating the page is easier, I still don't think it's as good as the last one."

Eagle Staff Writer Stokely Baksh contributed to this report.

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