USAO News Bureau

USAO launches mobile friendly website

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

After more than a year of planning and development, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma has launched a new mobile-friendly website designed to serve current and future students better than ever.

The website can be found online at usao.edu.

Cody Dracars, USAO’s web developer, says the new look and functionality is the product of responsive design, the latest in website design standards.

“Responsive design means that a website will work on any device by resizing it without breaking the usability,” Dracars said. “Unlike a traditional mobile site, the user has full access to all of the desktop functions and maintains the same design.”

“With the implementation of responsive design on the USAO website, we are repositioned right on the cutting edge of website technology.”

Dracars has researched and worked for more than a year to bring together the right set of tools to make USAO’s website more accessible to younger users, who are flocking to mobile devices like smart phones and tablets to do research about where they might attend school.

A recent survey of 2,000 high school juniors and seniors conducted by Noel-Levitz, a marketing company that specializes in higher education, reports that nearly 80 percent of teens have access to a mobile device.

Of those, 68 percent have used it to search for information about colleges online and a whopping 43 percent use their mobile device for all of their web browsing.

Due to the sheer volume of information on USAO’s website, the new page will launch with the front page and news section fully responsive with other sections to be migrated over to the new design over the coming weeks.

Jessica Jackson, communications and marketing assistant director at the university, says that this approach will allow the web development team to consult with students, faculty and staff to fine tune the sections that affect them the most directly before they make the transition.

“With the advent of new tablet and larger phone size, we knew responsive design was the direction we needed to move in,” Jackson said. “By redesigning the website piece by piece, we will have the opportunity to streamline content and improve the user experience across the entire site.”

“These little tweaks will become more evident as the whole site transitions in the weeks to come.”

Until the entire site is converted over to the new design, searching for specific information may contain an extra step.

The search functions on the responsive parts of the site will only search for items already transitioned into the new design. If users need to search for material contained in the older sections, they must begin the search from any page in the non-responsive part of the site.

Kelly Arnold, USAO’s newly appointed communications and marketing director, is excited to introduce the public to this new, more adaptive face of the university.

“Coming in this close to the end of a year-long process, it is obvious that the team, especially Cody, has been working diligently to produce the best product possible for our target audiences,” Arnold said.

“I’ve been very impressed with the talent in this group, and I’m confident that this launch will take USAO to the next level of being a strong competitor for students in the state.”