A first look at PLU’s new website

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Pacific Lutheran University is getting a new website layout. The website will go live on Tuesday. If you are currently on a PLU server, you can check out the new website here.

Why a New Website?

With the improvements of technology in the last few years, PLU’s website was in need of a more adaptive design. Assistant Director for Social Media and Technology Hai Doan explained that with the popularity of smart phones, PLU needed to build a website that was more user friendly and mobile friendly.

The new website is much more user-friendly but has many of the same elements that the old one has. For example, the banner and menu on the top of the page remains, although it has an updated look. Another thing users will notice is when looking at the website on a smartphone or tablet, the design will fit the size of the screen and look a lot nicer. For students who primarily use smaller tablets or smartphones, this change will make it a lot easier to navigate around the website.

The Biggest Changes

The biggest change about the website is the switch from Cascade to WordPress. Although Cascade works well for people who know a lot about web design, WordPress is much easier to teach people how to use who may not know too much about putting together websites.

“WordPress is a lot more user-friendly. You can interact with the elements,” Doan said. With the old interface, Cascade, it was a lot harder to find which element, or part of the website, you wanted to change. The old website required a lot more technical knowledge.

In Cascade, it is a lot easier for inexperienced users to make small mistakes that have big consequences. For example, accidentally deleting one line while editing could mess up an entire part of the website. However, when working in WordPress, the elements are a lot easier to see visually and it’s easier to just give people access to edit just certain parts of the website.

Reactions

So far reactions to the new website are positive. Doan teaches students and faculty from each department who need to update their pages how to use the new design, and they have had an easier time so far. Many people are already somewhat familiar with WordPress, but even those who aren’t have had an easier time.

“It’s easier for people who don’t know much about technology to update the website,” Doan said.

PLU web designers are currently fixing some minor bugs. Starting in May, web developers will be going through the new website and remapping any links that aren’t yet updated.

Some differences we know the new website will have:

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We gave a few students a sneak peak at the website and here are their thoughts:

Samantha Lund

Samantha Lund was the Editor in Chief at The Mast, a student-run newsroom within Pacific Lutheran University, in 2015-16. Lund created Mast Magazine in 2015 to give students a forum for long form news pieces. She could be found writing for Pacific Lutheran University's Marketing and Communication site plu.edu or interning at MOViN 92.9's morning talk show in Seattle. Other places to find her content include: Alaska Airlines blog and website, The News Tribune and The Bremerton Harald.

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