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Updates to utk.edu

As you visit utk.edu today, you will notice slight changes.

This morning we launched the latest iteration of http://www.utk.edu. Highlights of this iteration include overhauling the underlying functionality to decrease the site weight (this results in faster page load times); tweaking the presentation of our slideshows and featured topics; and adding analytics to every clickable area of our home page and the media areas of our interior pages to better inform future information architecture and content strategy decisions. 

As part of the changes on the top-level http://www.utk.edu pages, we completely redesigned and redeveloped the interactive campus map at http://www.utk.edu/maps. The campus map now uses an autocomplete search box to find buildings and departments. The total site weight has dropped substantially and will help with load times on mobile devices. Additionally, through a partnership with Facilities Services and the Office of Disability Services, we are proud to launch an entirely new accessibility section. Paths with grade, accessible entrances, accessible parking spots, and more can be found on our interactive campus map. We are ecstatic to see the results of this joint partnership.

Our last major redesign of utk.edu launched February 1, 2012. Since then, the UT web team has initiated an iterative redesign process for the main university website.

An iterative web design process means making incremental changes to the user interface and underlying functionality after launch. One of the main benefits of using an iterative design process is that designers do not have to wait three years to make a change to a website design. The UT web team adheres to a six-month iterative cycle. Every six months we adjust functionality and presentation. This allows us to be more nimble, to better meet the university’s communication goals, and to keep the presentation of the website evolving at the same pace as the quickly changing landscape of web design.

Over the course of the fall 2013 semester, we completed annual usability testing as well as an informal website feedback survey to learn from the ways our audience uses the site. We use these data, plus analytics, anecdotal feedback, and more, to inform our iterative designs.

We look forward to hearing your comments or feedback. Please don’t hesitate to contact the UT web team at webteam@utk.edu

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