SF State News {University Communications}

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Welcome to our new Web look...tell us what you think

August 28, 2008 -- With the launch of a new University home page in July, SF State now has a more appealing and unified look for the family of University Web sites. The design features improved navigation, a clean and unified appearance and consistent placement of tools that contribute to a more user-friendly browsing experience.

Tell us what you think of SF State's new Web look....take this brief survey.


Screen shot of San Francisco State's new University home page.

SF State's new University home page

The University home page features a comprehensive collection of links at the bottom of the page, a functionality custom-built for SF State. This is a unique way to display a broad range of resources and options in one place, putting resources just one click away from the visitor.

The home page is built in a new template, launched in spring 2008, that creates uniformity for all University Web pages, while at the same time providing options for colleges and departments to give their sites a unique look and feel. Additionally, the template helps speed compliance with Section 508 accessibility requirements.

The template seeks to ground the user when navigating the University Web pages, guiding the visitor to look for navigation in the left-hand column, main content in the middle section and related links and contact information on the right. This allows users to find information on individual pages quickly and easily.

All University colleges and departments that adopt the new template offer visitors immediate links to time-saving utilities that appear at the top and bottom of the page.  Links in these areas take a user to:

  • the University home page and its collection of key links
  • login to password protected areas such as MySFSU, iLearn, and e-mail
  • departmental contact information in the comprehensive A-Z index
  • events listings on the University Calendar
  • search tools for University people and offices, e-mails, class schedules and the Library catalog all on one page
  • a search box for a thorough search of the University domain

Many departments have already built their Web pages in the template. Whether visitors are trying to find out more about the SF State Counseling and Psychological Services Center or are browsing SF State's Points of Pride, they will see many examples throughout the University's Web pages. Along the way, visitors can enjoy the new navigation which makes it easier to move between related sites, such as SF State Facts , SF State News and SF State Magazine.

Colleges and departments will introduce the new look on a rolling basis, as redesigned pages are introduced or revised. Take a Web tour of some other college and department sites that are enjoying the benefits of the new template, and see how the look and feel is both consistent and individualized:

In the past, the University's Web pages were criticized as boring, generic, disorganized and chaotic, with navigation that "left users stranded." While visitors once reported feeling overwhelmed by the many different styles and navigation systems available, responses to the current design have included "unique," "distinctive" and "cool." Users have commented, "Welcome to the 21st century," it is now "easy to find almost all the information I need," and it is a "huge improvement over the old Web site."

The Web team welcomes comments and questions regarding the new Web site -- and listens. In response to demand, for example, the team restored the "Quick Links" feature to the University's home page. Please send your feedback by completing this short survey.

The Web template is part of an ongoing project that began two years ago to provide a uniform look and feel for SF State Web pages, ensuring compliance with Section 508, while maintaining distinction and autonomy. A combined effort of University Communications, the Division of Information Technology and the Disability Programs and Resource Center, the redesign is the culmination of a more than 18-month project that involved more than three-dozen college and department representatives throughout the University who contributed insights, feedback and testing.

For guidelines on template use and to download the template for application to University Web sites, visit the SF State Web Template Guidelines Web site at http://www.sfsu.edu/~news/webtemplate/

For more information about SF State's Web accessibility guidelines, visit the ACCESS Web Site at http://www.sfsu.edu/access/


-- Student Writer Josh Tobias with Ellen Griffin


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