Dordt College News

Dordt College website has new look, new functionality

August 2, 2010

Every month, more than 22,000 visitors tour Dordt College’s website at Those visitors are now getting a look at a fully redesigned website, launched the first week of July.

The redesign has been an 18-month process, involving everything from new pictures and content to the back-end coding that makes search engines function efficiently.

“We think guests will find the re-design helpful and inviting. The website is a great place to learn about Dordt College and what we have to offer,” noted Sonya Jongsma Knauss, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. Visitors to the site will find more than 1,500 pages of content, and more than 1,000 current photos of students, faculty, and staff.

The re-design is primarily the work of Brady Fopma, Dordt’s webmaster, and Jamin Ver Velde, graphic artist. With other team members, they gathered input from high school students, college students, and Dordt employees to determine preferences regarding the new design and features for the website.

“The site was designed primarily with prospective students in mind,” said Fopma. But other users considered in the process were alumni, employers, and families of current students.

One key feature is a highly improved search function: Fopma recoded each page on the site to make it search engine friendly. A small “search” box on the upper right corner of every page helps visitors navigate to specific information on the site and also provides access to staff/student contact information.

Site navigation is also simpler. The user interface uses drop-down reveal buttons so it’s more intuitive and involves fewer “clicks” to other portions of the site. A “bread crumb” trail illustrates the path to each page, and provides easy navigation back to previous pages.

Key components include connections to institutional social media outlets (Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter), as well as an interactive map to help prospective students connect with the admissions counselor for each specific region.

The new site was built with larger screen resolutions in mind, and content was rewritten into smaller blocks of information, with the option to “Dig Deeper” and access additional details. A scrolling news item menu on the main page shares Dordt news in a highly accessible way. Those who are interested can subscribe to receive an automatic electronic news feed. A calendar feature also allows viewers to subscribe and have Dordt events automatically added to Google calendars.

“Photos are a key element in the design,” said Jamin Ver Velde, graphic designer for the site. A team of photographers gathered shots for the project to offer prospective students a look at life on campus.

New content is added frequently, so visitors are encouraged to bookmark and visit often to learn about the many public events taking place on campus throughout the academic year.

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