Redesigned Website Highlights U of G's New 'Look'

August 07, 2007 - News Release

U of G has officially launched its redesigned website. In development for the past year, the site includes a new look and updates many existing services, including the campus map and search engine, which now allow users to search the web, directory and library all from one place.

The home page features more news and information, more frequent updates, and more images of campus and our community. Profiles of students, staff, faculty and campus appear throughout the site.

"The redesign uses a modern Web Standards-based approach and builds on our previous commitment of ensuring our website is accessible for all users," says Stuart Robertson, U of G’s web manager and a web design instructor at the University of Guelph-Humber. "We wanted to design a new site with a modern look that better reflected the spirit of our university. "

In designing the new site, Robertson solicited feedback from the campus community on both the old website and the preliminary design concepts. "Many of the updated features are about giving users more choices in how they access and contribute to our content," he says.

"For example, our news and events are available on the home page, but they could also be viewed in a desktop feed reader or added to another site like Google Homepages or Facebook. In addition to feeds, many pages now use the hCard and hCalendar Microformats, which allow users to quickly add contacts to their address books and events to their calendars."

The University is also working with more external services, including The Weather Network, Apple's iTunes, Facebook, Google Maps, and YouTube to improve the website experience for the University community, he says. New features will continue to be added, including more audio and video content, user-submitted photos and further integration with other websites on campus.

The redesigned website is part of a larger initiative to reinforce the University's brand and develop marketing strategies to build greater brand recognition that includes a new graphic look and the University’s new cornerstone and tag line, "Changing Lives, Improving Life."

The University website is the first campus-wide implementation of a new "brand," and making it the starting point was a logical choice, says Chuck Cunningham, director of Communications and Public Affairs, who is heading the branding initiative.

"Our website is the most dynamic reflection of the University and has become a primary resource for all our key audience groups," he says. "The message we deliver on the home page should be the one we most want people to remember about U of G, and it should be backed by an efficient design for navigation throughout the virtual University of Guelph."

U of G worked with Toronto-based Cundari SFP and conducted multiple focus groups and interviews with stakeholders, including faculty, staff, current Guelph students, high school students and U of G alumni, to come up with the new tag line and cornerstone.

The new cornerstone image combines the tag line with the U of G identifier and a new pallette of colours and typography to help University designers achieve a distinctive and consistent look on Guelph publications and websites.

Copies of the cornerstone element and a preliminary quick reference guide to proper use are now available for campus users and will be incorporated into the University's graphic standards guide and web design guide.

"This tag line is clear and makes the point that U of G is dedicated to protecting and cultivating the essentials of life — water, land, the environment, health, community, commerce, culture and learning," says president Alastair Summerlee. "The University's mission statement and strategic objectives are the foundation of its brand promise, but this tag line is our summary of those promises. They define our aspirations and achievements. At the University of Guelph, we do change lives and improve life."

For more information on our website, contact: Stuart Robertson, University of Guelph Web Manager.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1