Web Function and Design Project

Jenna French Picture

Web Function & Design Project Background

Over time, a distributed approach to supporting web presence has evolved at UC Santa Cruz – campus central administration, divisions, units, and programs tend to support their web publishing needs independently, using a diverse array of tools, content, and services. Not surprisingly, this unstructured approach causes a lack of content consistency, as well as substantial disparity between the tools and services available from one area of campus to the next.

The visual design across UCSC sites differs dramatically, leaving online visitors without common tools for navigation or consistent organization of information. This can be disorienting to site visitors and counterproductive to academic and administrative units who rely on the web to convey information and foster productive interactions with key audiences.

UCSC’s Strategic Academic Plan released in February 2008 states that the institution “strives to serve California as a top-ranked research university and the leading institution for the education of students.” This goal implies the need to communicate extensively with current and prospective students, faculty, and staff. It requires a unified, effective web presence, complete with visual designs and information architecture that support a fluid and rewarding end-user experience.

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal issued a charge to implement the Web Presence & Services Program in October 2008. Among other directives, the charge included, “Designing an updated, effective, and consistent look and feel for UCSC’s web presence.”

Web Function & Design Project Goals

The goal of this project is to improve UCSC’s official web presence by providing an updated, compelling visual design and information architecture for the central university web presence.

Driving principles of this work include: a focus on the needs of our target audiences; an ability to showcase the unique strengths and diversity of UCSC; and a web experience on par with other leading higher education institutions.

A note about the photo on this page:

The Chancellor's Office and acting Arts Dean Margaret Morse sponsored an on-campus photography contest, open to all students, staff, and faculty. The image on our site garnered critical acclaim in the 2007 contest. The photograph "Old Oak" by Brooke Crowley, a graduate student, won the 2007 contest. For more information, see the following news article.