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Virtual visitors discovering University of Toronto Scarborough through award-winning website

UTSC's website recently won a Best in Class award at the Interactive Media Awards

The University of Toronto Scarborough’s redesigned website offers an improved user experience for prospective students and those who want to learn more about UTSC’s programs, people and campus.

In addition to a responsive design that adapts for mobile, tablet and desktop users, the site is more visually engaging, with larger photographs and seamlessly integrated rich media content.  The website is already garnering recognition, receiving a Best in Class award in the University category at the Interactive Media Awards in December.

The launch has been taking place in stages; top tier pages and most academic departments and centres have migrated to the new design. 

“Our goal is to provide a rich experience on what has become our primary communication platform,” said Andrew Arifuzzaman, UTSC’s chief administrative officer. “We set out to enhance the site in several key areas: content, quality, usability and visual design so we can best represent the vibrant nature of our campus.”

The new website provides improved navigation to important destinations such as academic departments and campus life. For prospective students, prominently displayed calls to action encourage visitors to Imagine Yourself Here, Book a Campus Tour, and Ask Us. “As a key audience, prospective students were top of mind during the redesign process,” said Curtis Cole, UTSC’s registrar and assistant dean. “As a result the website and our new homepage are tailored to put content our future students need right at their fingertips.”

The homepage also encourages visitors to experience UTSC’s unique faculty research and feature stories through the use of engaging visuals.

As with all content on the Internet today, sharing is essential. Whether it’s between students and friends, faculty partners or staff, the new site utilizes web technology to foster content sharing across the UTSC publishing community. To create that functionality, UTSC turned to content management system Drupal. Drupal makes creating and sharing content and site management easier, and provides an organized process for regular updates, with content filtered for relevance to each department’s home page.

No matter where someone enters, they can find up-to-date information. And if they don’t find what they want, an enhanced global search lets site visitors locate information as fast as they can say Google.

All of the elements created to enhance the user’s experience are the result of more than two years of research and analysis. The Web project began in 2011 with the creation of a campus-wide Web Steering Committee. That committee, comprising faculty and staff, studied what all possible audiences look for in a Web site. The committee turned to leading digital strategy design firm Delvinia, to analyze the campus’ then-current site and produce a new vision for Delvinia, which has redesigned sites for Microsoft SMB, the CBC and Maple Leaf Gardens, created a plan for the complete visual and structural redesign, and the plan was executed by UTSC’s IITS developers.

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