By MARTY LEVINE
A new Pitt.edu website debuted July 30 as a site primarily for recruiting students and letting alumni know about Pitt’s latest accomplishments — to encourage their support.
“We were definitely overdue” for a site re-design, said Kate Ledger, assistant vice chancellor for marketing in the Office of University Communications & Marketing (where the U Times also is housed), noting it had not been revamped in a dozen years. Most staff and faculty use my.pitt.edu, even if they enter through Pitt.edu, she said, and “we really wanted (Pitt.edu) to be a central driver of brand for the University … and really showcase the best of the University going forward.”
The overall goal of the redesign, she said, was “to build a sense of Pitt pride.”
Users familiar with the old site will notice right away that the new version features videos rather than a still-picture gallery, which is more attractive for most users, Ledger said. It was designed to work well for mobile users too, she added.
There is a convenient “drawer” that slides out from the right for navigation, and the main content now features items aimed at recruiting new students and encouraging gifts to Pitt.
Farther down, a “Ones to Watch” section links to features on Pittwire (which has also undergone a redesign) about students, faculty and staff, highlighting “the diversity of our people, where they are from, what they are working on,” Ledger explained. There are quick facts sections throughout the site, displaying, for instance, the number of student organizations, Pitt’s national rankings, diversity statistics, and the global presence of University alumni.
“Large, beautiful visuals,” she said, were created by campus photographers from the Communications department as well as the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
“What’s going on behind the scenes is even more important,” she said, noting that this website has been moved to a new server to improve its performance and the ease of changing its content.
Ledger gives credit to “every member of the web team and our designers and photographers as well as our Pittwire team,” for the work, highlighting in particular Bruce Steele, senior web content editor; Elizabeth Raffaele, marketing manager; Robyn Coggins, senior editor of Pittwire; Chris Jones, senior interactive art director; and John Cooper, director of University Web Communications.
“This new website helps people who aren’t familiar with Pitt get to know us,” Cooper said. It was produced with a lot of help from Pitt IT and the outside design firm Primacy, he said, during a time when Pitt’s web design team also was very busy handling the University’s coronavirus websites.
“This is just a front door,” Cooper said. “Our team is ready to carry this through the University of Pittsburgh web ecosystem. We’re trying to establish continuity across the University’s externally facing websites” — and only those, he emphasized.
“It’s always exciting creating something new and seeing it launch for the world,” he said.
Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-758-4859.
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