UTD unveils new web presence

UTD unveiled a new look on May 4 after receiving an “extreme makeover,” but it wasn’t the result of extensive nip-and-tuck plastic surgeries that are dominating reality-based transformation TV these days.

UTD’s new look took place in cyberspace, as the university’s web development team debuted a new Web site for the school. The new site — the first of several waves of changes – is largely a face-lift on the previous Web site and brings a new look but little intensive restructuring, said Cary Delmark, software systems specialist and head of the newly formed University Web Services department in the Provost’s office.

Delmark said the goal is to build a Web site that matches the university’s credentials. In order to do so, Delmark and his team worked with Glenda Yan, an award-winning web designer who designed the Web site for the School of Arts and Humanities.

Yan designed the new look and the Web Services department implemented the plan after approval from UTD administration.

Delmark and his team originally intended to put the plan in motion with Yan’s new Web site design, without making any structural changes. As they worked on the project, however, Delmark said that he and his staff were forced to make some other changes as well.

He said Web sites that are the most useful to students should not require a user to follow five or six links. He wants the most used features of the Web site to either link directly from the main page or be only one more click away.

The administration, however, was not alone in its awareness of a need for a new Web site.

Bradley Ruzicka, a senior telecommunications major, also felt a strong need for a new Web site.

“Our school prides itself on being one of the most technologically advanced and academic-best schools in the nation, yet our (old) Web site which introduces visitors to our school reflect(ed) nothing of the sort,” Ruzicka said.

The first stage in the implementation of a Web page to match UTD’s caliber and Tier-1 aspirations is the redesign of templates for more than 100 Web pages. Included in the redesign are new templates for the academic calendar, course listings, tuition and fees table and other general registration information.

Delmark said he feels the university Web site is an important recruitment tool. Much like in a personal meeting, the first impression a potential student gets when visiting the Web site may determine whether the student decides to apply to UTD.

That is why student services, admissions and enrollment were the first areas to receive an electronic face-lift, Delmark said.

In the future, Delmark’s office will work with the schools and programs at the university to develop their own Web pages.

Delmark said he does not want to standardize the entire university Web site, however, as he wants departments and schools to have their own look.

To comment on the new Web site, send an e-mail to webdeveloper@utdallas.edu.


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