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Redesigned website improves interface, but loses content

By Editorial Board, The Advocate

The sudden launch of the redesigned website is a needed change to the outdated virtual front door of Contra Costa College, but students lost links to important information during the move.

While the redesign was long overdue, the surprise launch of the site leaves much work to be done in terms of becoming an online beacon for the community.

Students, faculty and administrators are encouraged to work with CCC Marketing and Media Design Director Brandy Howard to get the appropriate information uploaded to the website.

Wanting to launch the website as soon as possible is understandable considering the level of the college’s dysfunctional online presence.

“The website was not reflective of the current programing of the school,” Howard said. “We want to change the perception people have of the college when they look at us online.”

She’s right. The old website, which was only live for about two years, had information that was outdated throughout its life-span and had a design that hearkens back to  an era when MySpace was cool.

But as bad as it was, the website design before that one was even worse.

Dean of Enrollment Services Dennis Franco said, “We’re hoping that this effort will make CCC more attractive to prospective students, and make accessing the information needed to make the decision to come to CCC easier.”

After seeing the clean design of the website, and the mobile site, launch last week no one can deny it is pleasing aesthetically.

“We redesigned the site to better showcase Contra Costa College for prospective students,” she said. “The old website was really outdated or broken.”

But now, after spending $20,000 for the redesign, there is still work that needs to be done if we want to strive for institutional transparency.

The website, in all its beauty, is missing links to shared governance committees’ minutes and agendas. These are documents that inform the public about the happenings and decisions made by faculty during committee meetings.

Howard said she was unaware that the redesigned website is without these links. She said she has received messages from faculty in various departments and is working to have missing content filled.

Because the website is no longer hosted at CCC, Howard said it should be easier to upload information now that the college pays Pantheon Website Management Platform (PWMP) for hosting the service.

She said the highest hurdle is reaching out to faculty, administrators and students so they help point out areas on the site where content is missing.

If the website redesign was promoted to the college community via InSite Portal, or text message, then this would have made Howard’s job easier.

Keeping up with technology is a challenge that we all deal with, but when a college is underfunded it can be like trudging up a muddy hill while carrying weights.

We cannot have a modern online platform that is opaque.

Making sure that the content on the website is on par with the way it looks is tough, but not impossible if we work together.