Colorado State University’s websites have been redesigned after almost five years.
The Department of External Relations first decided to revamp CSU’s main homepage as a way to further develop the university’s brand as a whole. They then worked closely with the Web Communications team to develop an entirely new homepage.
“It was time for a wholesale change all around the board to (show) where our brand is moving to as a university,” said Elias Martinez, Creative Director and Assistant Vice President for Brand Strategy. “We wanted to use the website as a story for telling our brand.”
According to Lauren Kroll, web designer and CSU alumna, the importance of the “State Your Purpose,” video on the homepage for a majority of the summer is a critical marketing tool. The website currently displays pictures of cheerful students returning back to campus for the beginning of the semester.
“(We were) really showcasing students to capture that all around feeling of what it’s like to be in Fort Collins,” Kroll said. “We used it as a marketing tool, and we thought it was a really great place to show what Fort Collins is about.”
One of the first concerns immediately thought of when designing the new websites were how they translate from mobile devices to desktop devices. According to Martinez, mobile users are one of the largest groups of people who access the website, so having a solid mobile website was important in the redesigning process.
“One of the shifts was that the website was getting pretty dated,” said Chris Weller, CSU web designer and developer. “We had a separate website for desktop and mobile users, and the mobile excluded some information. The websites were merged and created to adapt to most devices.”
CSU web developers have also designed the new website to be accessible to every person, regardless of disability or not. They continue to change and adapt the website to promote easier accessibility so everyone will be able to view the same information.
“We are in a continuing ongoing accessibility and responsiveness,” Weller said. “Disabled users can access the same information and same things on a better-adapted website.”
Among the websites redesigned are Admissions, Source and green.colostate.edu, which is an initiative supporting sustainable living. The web communications team on campus also works with different colleges in designing their own websites.
“People looking to learn more about the university use the website as their first stop,” Martinez said. “We manage web communications for the university, and we’ve been involved in the refresh on green.colostate.edu, the state of sustainability.”
The redesign took about 9 to 12 months and was done entirely by CSU web designers. The Department of External Relations contains teams of people skilled in the fields of marketing to video production.
“What we’ve done here at CSU is we’ve built internally a full-service marketing and advertising agency,” Martinez said. “It’s everything from print to web, and we’re really dedicated to branding and positioning the university as a whole.”
Martinez is hopeful about the development of CSU’s brand in the future.
“It’s a wonderful school and a great place where interesting and powerful things are happening,” Martinez said.
Collegian reporter Savannah Hoag can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @sav_hoag.