School of Pharmacy Launches New Website, Pharmacy Portal
New design and improved functionality enhances visitors’ experience and assists the School in promoting its mission to lead pharmacy education, scientific discovery, patient care, and community engagement in the state of Maryland and beyond
By Malissa Carroll
August 20, 2012
In conjunction with the start of the new academic year, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is excited to announce the launch of its new website and expanded Pharmacy Portal. The redesign process, which began seven months ago, was led by a committee of faculty and staff from across the School in partnership with idfive, an integrated advertising and design agency in Baltimore.
“As part of our ever expanding efforts to highlight the innovative educational, practice, and research activities at the School of Pharmacy, we undertook a redesign of our website to better feature the outstanding work of our faculty, staff, and students,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean of the School of Pharmacy. “With the input of our redesign committee and many faculty, staff, students, and alumni, we now have a site that is not only visually appealing but also easy and intuitive for users to navigate.”
Idfive led an extensive research process that involved conducting focus groups and interviews with faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders for their impressions on what they would like to see in a new website. They presented several design options and information architecture plans, with the committee opting for the most creative and unique design.
“The new site’s innovative design provides a flexible platform to highlight the important work being done in the School’s education, research and practice programs and engaging news involving the entire School of Pharmacy community,” says Shannon Tucker, assistant dean of instructional technology and chair of the website redesign committee.
On the home page, a feature box designed to rotate through three large photos and captions calls visitors’ attention to prominent news items. Video capability has also been added to feature important news and events, such as the White Coat Ceremony and commencement celebrations.
The improved design and content organization will also help visitors better navigate the site to find the information they need. The enhanced main navigation now features “mega menus,” which drop down to reveal a summary of the content found in each section accompanied by a related photo and links, allowing visitors to see what information is available in each section before they click on it. A secondary navigation menu has also been added to help visitors locate the area of the website with content most appropriate to their interest in the School of Pharmacy, such as alumni, preceptor, or prospective student.
Furthermore, in response to the public’s increasing use of mobile devices, the School’s new website was equipped with “responsive design.” Using responsive design, the site can determine the type of device being used to access its content and restructure that content for optimal viewing on that device.
However, the improvements don’t end with the public website.
To complement the launch of its new website, the School of Pharmacy also expanded its Pharmacy Portal, including new functionality that will make it easier for faculty, staff, and current students to find the information most important to them. Internal content previously housed on the public website, including many policies, procedures, and forms, has also been moved to the Pharmacy Portal.
“Moving this content allowed us to streamline the new website and focus content on our public audience, while compiling these important documents in a secure location that can be easily accessed by those individuals in the School who need them most,” says Tucker.