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Website to receive design upgrades

By Kaitlin Zurdosky, Daily Staff Reporter
Published July 17, 2013

The University’s website, which has over half a million visitors a year, is getting a facelift.

After over two years of research toward the redesign, a team at Michigan Creative, a division of the Communications department, has developed a “responsive” system that easily adjusts the website to any device.

“If you’re accessing from a desktop or an iPhone, it will recognize the device and rescale accordingly,” University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said. “There’s no longer a need for a separate iPhone app or different interface. The website simply recalibrates so it fits on your cell phone."

Fitzgerald said the goal of the redesign is to make the website as clear and accessible as possible in all formats. With the gradual change in technology over time, the Michigan Creative team developed this platform in order to keep pace with how customers access the information.

“The website is the front door of the University of Michigan on the Internet,” he said. “We refer to it as the gateway because it’s how we envision it: the gateway to learning about the University of Michigan on the web.”

To improve website functioning, primary research began in 2011 when the University teamed up with marketing and communications firm Lipman Hearne in order to analyze how people were navigating the website.

Building upon this research, secondary analysis used test drives of the design ideas and responsive platform technology. Fitzgerald said scores were given to assess navigation aspects within computers and mobile devices. After receiving high scores on user compatibility, the team is now in its final stages of development.

In addition to the website itself, Michigan Creative has recently redesigned the block “M” and University logos. Fitzgerald said elements will refresh the visual brand of the University and create consistency across all parts of the University.

Fitzgerald said the final website will launch early this fall.