A team of professional web design technicians are preparing to give the PCC website a complete make-over to improve its look and functionality.
Michael Ihrig, PCC’s web administrator and PCC alumni, said an update to the site is long overdue.
“What we have now is what we’ve had since 2003,” said Ihrig.
“Which if you think about it in computer years, that’s worse than dog years,” added David Steiman, the school’s interim public relations director.
Eleven years behind in technology is equivalent to having a cell phone the size of a brick. Unless students are computer wizzes, finding certain information from the website can be confusing and frustrating. Broken links and a misguided search engine creates a time-consuming process just to find out where the math department is located. Ihrig and his team is about to change all that.
“For us at PCC, it’s the first time that anyone’s attempted to create an information architecture,” said Ihrig. “What that means is it’s not just physically how the files relate to each other on the website but it takes into account your audiences and how they expect to get from point A to point B.”
“We’re working with web content specialists to hone in on what that voice of PCC is, keeping it accessible and friendly and easy to understand,” Ihrig added.
Ihrig and his team are determined to fulfill those expectations using a new system called Omni Update so that the average person is able to navigate the site easily. It is important that the website is user-friendly, particularly for first time students, returning students, parents, or perhaps, a veteran who wants to further his or her education.
The company the school will work with, called O-U Campus, is known for their modern content management system specifically for higher education websites.
The project started more than two years ago with extensive research through interviewing students and faculty, organizing archive data, and combing through hundreds of other college websites for ideas. Ihrig shared that the number of archive pages were in the tens of thousands.
“When you do something like this, it takes a lot of planning because there’s so many different facets on campus that you have to make sure of,” said Steiman.
Everything between sports and financial aid has to be gathered, organized, and included in the website. Ihrig and Steiman’s goal is to create a “distributive” responsibility over data so that certain information can be updated as needed.
“The beautiful thing I think about the content management system is that it puts more ownership on content creators,” said Ihrig. “So say the English department wants to manage their content, it’s all theirs. Because they’re invested in their own content, because they know about their dates, their events – this and that – they’re going to be more excited to keep their content fresh and updated.”
Along with last minute tweaks and alterations, the process will end with house-training for administration to learn how to edit and update their sections of the website. This allows each department to create its own voice.
A patient Ihrig and Steiman hope that their “information architecture” project completes within a year.
“I remember as a student thinking ‘Man, they’ve got to do something with this website’ and now I’m the guy to do it!,” said Ihrig.
The web team said it is important to hear comments and concerns to create a fun, friendly and functionable website and encourage students to visit www.pasadena.edu and click the “feedback” tab to share ideas.