We worked with the Office of Communications and Public Relations to develop a redesigned VCU News Center site that showcased the scope of university and medical center news without overwhelming the user. The site also needed to display the variety of ways that news could be communicated, including news releases, videos, photos and social media.
The home page (screen 1) includes rotating feature stories with photos, a listing of top stories and media advisories, featured video and faculty experts and VCU OnTopics. Links to VCU in Pictures and other university news sites (such as athletics and student media), as well as a feed from the university events calendar (screen 2), give visitors a larger picture of what’s happening on VCU’s campuses. The site design ties into VCU’s black-and-gold color scheme, while the use of white space on the home page gives the site a newsmagazine feel that more easily allows for the presentation of large amounts of information.
The sub-level pages include an expand-and-collapse feature (screen 3) that carries top stories, VCU OnTopic and upcoming events throughout the site, giving visitors easy access to important university news regardless of what page they are viewing.
The OnTopic video series includes clips of VCU professors sharing their expertise as it relates to current events. Each segment includes video clips and a short article summarizing the professor’s view (screen 4). Featured faculty experts also spotlight professors who could address current topics in the news or focus on individualized specialty areas (screen 5).
The new video section includes a large featured video at the top of the page with other videos categorized below using carousel navigation (screen 6). Site visitors can scan videos and view the titles by rolling over the thumbnails. We also worked with Communications and Public Relations to create an email form where members of the university community, using their eID, can submit story ideas to the office (screen 7).
For site maintenance, we created an online news management system database that allows OCPR staff to quickly and easily publish news stories online with the option of adding photos, videos, audio and slide shows to each story. We also ensured that the new site produces optimal results for search engines.
- Flash programming
- Database programming
- News feeds
- Event feeds from university calendar
- Slide show photo galleries
- Writing and editing
- Visual design and concept
- HTML/CSS development