Carolyn Conte | Staff Writer
Correction: An earlier version of this article improperly attributed a quote to Duquesne University Spokeswoman Tammy Ewin. The quote has since been removed.
Duquesne’s website just got a new mobile-friendly makeover.
Duquesne’s Computer and Technology Services (CTS) and the Office of Marketing and Communications upgraded the duq.edu site Wednesday to accommodate the trend that prospective students now research schools on mobile devices. The fresh new look includes a virtual tour of 30 panorama photos and 20 “tour stops” on campus, according to Tammy Ewin, assistant vice president for marketing and communications.
The website will now adjust itself to the user’s screen, rather than requiring the pinching and grabbing of the previous version of the website, Ewin said, adding that this will offer an “optimized experience”.
“The website is a critical marketing tool,” Bridget Fare, chief marketing and communications officer, said. The Office of Marketing and Communications, formerly Public Affairs, originally proposed the idea, and then collaborated with CTS to upgrade to a faster and easier website.
Marketing professor Audrey Guskey said a clean and colorful website will make it easier for prospective students to see themselves at Duquesne.
“The target audience is very tech savvy so you need something fresh,” Guskey said. “I like it. The previous design looked old, now I see it has more photos of students as I scroll through it.”
Ewin recognized the need to shift focus to mobile technology.
“After talking to students, reading and noticing trends, we understood that prospective students research schools on mobile devices,” in addition to other hand-held technology like tablets, according to Ewin.
She also said the homepage looks much different in order to put more information first, offer more interaction and look cleaner.
Kelley Maloney, director of marketing and communications for enrollment management, said the photos for the virtual tour were provided by a photographer from YouVisit, a startup photography company, mid-August. A user can experience the tour on desktops, laptops, mobile phones, tablets or even virtual reality headsets.
“The VR option is available for those using a special VR headset or as via an app that can be downloaded to a mobile phone and used with special VR viewers, which are even available in cardboard models,” said Maloney. She said the new tour will give a more complete picture of the school than the previous tour did.
The tour includes a mini-map of campus to accompany the panoramic visuals, and offers accompanying audio introductions of each campus location.
The tour also includes facts gained from “a lot of assistance from our partners around campus,” Maloney said.
She plans to have more photos added this year and next summer.
The project required an estimated two months between the first meeting and the tour’s launch, according to Maloney.
“There’s a lot that goes into the tour implementation — from pre-production efforts including determining the tour stops, writing descriptions and coordinating the photography shoot to post-production efforts which include the quality and review process,” Maloney said.
While there are no specific plans for a feedback survey or more changes, Ewin said they are “always open to feedback.”
“We’re always looking at what other folks do, and constantly willing to do more,” she said.
Users can access the changes on their phone now by visiting duq.edu. The new format is simpler, and features a drop-down menu of key sections of the website.