Website Redesign Joins List of Loyola’s Many Recent Changes

The redesign of, the official website of Loyola University Maryland, is one of several changes for Loyola for the 2009-2010 year.  Click here for PDF Copy

On September 25, the newly christened Loyola University unveiled its new website, debuting simultaneously with the official designation change.  The redesign was undertaken with the idea in mind that the original Loyola College website had not been developed with a single cohesive vision.  Instead, new parts were continually added to the website and not necessarily integrated very well with the already existing features.  This assessment would ring true for any Loyola student who has found that it was easier to find a certain part of through a Google search rather than navigating through the actual website itself.  Thus, the redesign was meant to streamline and integrate all the individual parts.  The new website also presents a more calculated image than that of the old website.  Surely, this image is meant to be in alignment with the other changes Loyola has undergone (the designation change) and those it is seeking to implement (becoming the nation’s leading Catholic comprehensive university).

The new homepage greets us with four categories – Undergraduate, Graduate, Athletics, Alumni & Giving – denoted in huge block letters.  Accompanying these titles is a nearly browser-size picture, one of the following rotation of pictures: the Humanities Center at night, the quad decorated with fall foliage, a close-up of ivy on the Alumni Chapel, the greyhound mascot Nicholas III, and a close-up of the back of a lacrosse player.  At the top of the page, less noticeable amidst the flashy pictures and lettering are a few other links (e.g., the new Inside Loyola portal, a full site index), a search function, and an events/news ticker.

The Undergraduate and Alumni & Giving links lead to pages with the same format (big picture, large-lettered links) as the homepage.  The Graduate link leads straight to links for each of the graduate programs, while the Athletics link sends users to the (unchanged) website.  Along with Athletics, many other departments and groups have kept their webpages the same or have made changes independent of the main site.

Part of the focus of the new website appears to be espousing Loyola’s philosophy as a university, with “What We Stand For” appearing as the first link in large letters on the Undergraduate page.  Paragraphs emphasizing Loyola’s foundation, Jesuit heritage, academic rigor, and commitments to sustainability and community service are featured prominently.  New pictures featuring engaged students and professors subtly reinforce the words that describe these characteristics.

This redesign clearly shows a commitment to defining Loyola’s image, but most of the students I have talked to have been more concerned about the practical nature of the website.  And on this front, the opinions of the student body should be a cause for concern, with a decidedly negative sentiment prevailing.  Several students have complained that the new website is just as hard to navigate as the old one, but they at least had gotten used to the quirks of the old version.  Senior Pat Regan flatly states that he “hate[s] it” and wonders why anyone would need those big letters to find their way around the website.  At least one student appreciates the aesthetic qualities of the website, but the navigational issues are still very much a concern.

One feature that most students may have missed is the full site index.  The link for the index is tucked away in the top corner of the homepage and can easily be missed behind the vastness of the pictures and huge letters on the rest of the page so students should be forgiven for not being able to find it.  This link provides an easy find for the major sections of the site, something that the old site was sorely missing.  This might suggest that slowly but surely, this new website will prove to be more adequately functional than the old version.  Or maybe everyone will just get used to it like they did before.

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