ADMINISTRATION BEGINS IMPROVING AUGUSTANA STUDENT, ALUMNI SITES

THOMAS ELNESS

tkelness12@ole.augie.edu

A video tour of campus on augie.edu conducted by Maren Engel and Thad Titze.

A video tour of campus on augie.edu conducted by Maren Engel and Thad Titze.

Augustana College administration improved the school’s website last week as part of a major web renovation project ending in an unveiling of a new website design.

Augustana’s website, www.augie.edu, unveiled a set of videos directed at prospective students. The new elements of the current website only skim the surface of the changes. The school plans to launch a new website by 2014.

Currently over 8,000 visitors frequent Augustana’s website each day, with 25 percent representing new visitors, according to Peggy Kapusta, director of online communication.

A board of school administrators, including Kapusta, vice president for advancement Bob Preloger, vice president for enrollment Nancy Davidson, director of communications and media relations Kelly Sprecher, content strategist Justine Lueth and web system administrator Donovan DeJong worked together to select a third-party contractor to help with the development of the new website.

The board ultimately chose Palantir, a company specializing in software and technology.

Kapusta, the liaison between Augustana and Palantir, explained the decision to hire a third party contractor.

“Third-party design firms come in and can do so much more with coding, development and implementation of the responsive web design,” Kapusta said.

Even with the help of a third-party contractor, the project requires time and patience.

“There are about 5,000 pages to migrate to the new site,” Kapusta said.

Website management must adapt the current website’s pages to be compatible with the new site. The future site will be responsive, meaning it will format to any internet-connecting device. The page will fit to the screen, adjusting the elements of the page as necessary.

This process requires time and money.

Kapusta estimates the project costing the school around “the low six figures.”

A large sum of cash, but a worthwhile investment, Kapusta said.

“There’s no way to get around having a website. It’s our strongest tool to connect with students, alumni, and the community,” Kapusta said.

Until the website team completes the final project, the site will continue to evolve with different multimedia elements.

A video tour of campus conducted by admission counselor and performing arts recruitment coordinator Maren Engel and former ASA president Thad Titze, both 2013 alumni, receive 631 plays in the first 48 hours on the website.

“Already it’s one our most watched videos,” Leuth said.

Additional videos encourage prospective students to explore, discover and create at Augustana.

The changes will not only be structurally different, but also the website’s changes focus on prospective students.

“[Websites are] a huge part of the college-search process. We want to tell the story of Augustana College. The greatest stories are told by our students and faculty,” Davidson said, noting the changes were, “more admission-driven.

The Augustana alumni website, www.augielink.com, will also be redesigned and will launch in November 2013.