“We were looking to come up with a way to make it easier to find things for people”
September 22, 2015
by Leah Hansen
“We were looking to come up with a way to make it easier to find things for people and a way to make so much content manageable,”said Lindsay Smith, a news media production specialist. The new site officially launched on Sept. 1, and incorporates an eye-catching, user-friendly design.
Smith, along with her RSJ colleague Sally Goldberg Powell, took into account the site’s audience when designing its user interface and content organization system.
“One of the main things from a functional perspective was to make sure that it was easier to navigate for people and to find the information that they needed,” Smith said. The site is organized across multiple pages with three main points of entry for prospective students, current students, and the RSJ community. That way, each group can access information tailored to them through each section.
The school’s previous site ran on infrastructure provided by the university — the technical framework allowed schools and faculties to fill in their information, but offered limited opportunities for design tweaks. The new site makes use of the capabilities of WordPress and allows for much more freedom when it comes to design, said Smith. “We were able to really play around with the design and functionality that way.”
Ivor Shapiro, chair of the Ryerson School of Journalism, said that the primary audience of the school’s site comes from off-campus, including prospective students, industry leaders and alumni.
“I think there are people out there in the world who are confused about what journalism is in this day and age and why it still matters,” he said. “I think the school’s website should be some part of answering that confusion and telling the story of what people actually learn here.”
The organization of the new site, which is divided into demographics, goes a long way in helping people find the exact information they’re looking for a lot faster, he said. “The website is complicated because it has so many different audiences,” he said. “I’m happy that what it says overall is a story about the school of journalism that is dynamic and multi-levelled.”
Smith said she hopes the redesign of both the school’s site and the recent upgrade of Ryersonian.com will improve how the school is perceived by industry professionals and prospective students.
“I hope they see that we’re attempting to take steps towards trying to keep up with the industry,” Smith said. “I would hope they would see us as progressive.”