Coming Soon: Bucknell University's .edu Revolution

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WATCH: Bucknell University channels Apple's iconic '1984' TV ad to promote its new, revolutionary higher ed website.

"University websites, including our own, tend to become dry and dense, and grow over time. Our new site will do the opposite." — Pete Mackey, Bucknell's Vice President for Communications and Community Relations

Bucknell University is just days away from launching its new website, which promises to be unlike any other website in higher education today.

"The new site will offer a special combination of design, user customization, navigation and content," said Pete Mackey, Bucknell's vice president for communications and community relations. "Our great team built this site around what users want, not the University's structure. It's a site for the future, not yesterday."

Each page of the site, starting with the homepage, will include multiple vertical tiers and sliding horizontal screens that allow users to explore extensive content with one click. Users can customize what they want to see, and the site will remain that way for their every visit until they choose different content. The site will also include a dramatically simplified navigation scheme, full-screen photos and videos, intuitive search and a user-oriented friendly tone, marking a complete transformation of the current

According to Bucknell's director of digital communications, Roberta Diehl, the bold layout and innovative functionality incorporate a responsive design that will make the site easy to use on any device, including smartphones and tablets. One of the most useful new features will be the role-based navigation option. "If you indicate you are interested in attending Bucknell, you will get information about majors and minors, campus life, admissions and financial aid, for instance," said Diehl. "But if you're a faculty member, a student, parent or alum, you can get something different. You'll get the content that's useful and relevant to you." In addition, the site will also keep track of recently visited pages, allowing visitors to "pin" any of those pages, creating a personalized set of quick links.

The site will also become more streamlined. "University websites, including our own, tend to become dry and dense, and grow over time," said Mackey. "Our new site will do the opposite. It will be informative, lively and concise - and we think all our audiences, especially admissions prospects, will find it intriguing to explore, even as any visitor will be able to get a task done or find information they want."

The site is the product of more than a year of planning in collaboration with Fastspot, a Baltimore-based agency that has created award-winning websites and interactive features for higher education, arts and cultural organizations, nonprofits and more. Fastspot gathered input from across the campus community, including a website advisory team of students, faculty and staff that advised Fastspot as the site evolved.

"We turned our focus exclusively on the users of the site, and asked ourselves: What do they really want and need to do here?" said Tracey Halvorsen, president and chief visionary officer at Fastspot. Halvorsen said the new site straddles both sides of the usability scale, with one set of tools focused exclusively on searching, sorting and information finding, and another set focused on storytelling and exploration. "We hope users will fall in love with the bold, efficient and vibrant new approach and feel a sense of joy while exploring the site."

About Bucknell University
Founded in 1846 and located along the banks of the Susquehanna River in historic Lewisburg, Pa., Bucknell University is the largest and one of the most highly ranked liberal arts universities in the country. Students can choose from more than 110 majors and minors in the arts, engineering, humanities, management, and social and natural sciences, as well as extensive global study, service-learning and research opportunities. Bucknell’s 3,500 undergraduate and 100 graduate students from across the world enjoy a low 10-to-1 student-faculty ratio and 150 students clubs and organizations plus 27 Division I athletic teams.

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Andy Hirsch
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