The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Students, staff give mixed reactions to overhauled university website as it undergoes review phase

Students, staff give mixed reactions to overhauled university website as it undergoes review phase - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

The website of Texas A&M University-San Antonio shows an overhaul Sept. 6, 2022, which launched during summer 2022. The website is undergoing revisions to smooth out user experience. Image courtesy of Texas A&M University-San Antonio

The Texas A&M University-San Antonio website redesign that took place before returning for classes this fall has been met with mixed reactions from students and staff.

The new website launched on July 5 but had been in the works since spring 2021, web services manager Jim Meyer said. Multiple teams from this university — such as Information Technology Services, the web team and the Marketing and Communications department — worked on the update, and an unnamed third party design firm worked on the “look and feel” of the website, Meyer said.

Senior communications manager Brance Arnold said the website redesign was a three-phase process. The first phase consisted of “migrating” the content from the old site to the new template using a content management system software. 

“Now we’re in phase two, which is really content review,” Arnold said. 

He explained that every area and department within the university owns content on the website and are currently performing “high-level review” that ensures their content is “current, up to date and accurate.” 

Meyer said, “We are working with an outside contractor now to help us with the UX and UI (user experience and user interface) portions of it.”

Arnold said this phase is expected to be completed by Oct. 26. 

“Then, we’ll go into phase three, which is really looking for tweaking design for specific pages as well as looking at site architecture,” Arnold continued. 

This phase will improve the navigation of the site with the help of a third-party vendor. 

Meyer said the third-party contractor has conducted focus groups to improve the organizational structure of the website. He also said the web team is integrating accessibility by employing outside services that rate the pages and the site for accessibility. 

Video by Irma Saenz

Students and staff react

Senior library associate Alex Calvio uses the university website often for work, and he found the new website to be difficult to use, “even as a university staff member.”

“It’s cluttered,” Calvio said. “It’s hard to find the original spaces that were dedicated to certain subjects.”

Calvio helps students navigate the website every day at the library, answering their questions and redirecting them to other departments that could better help them. Even though this is his job, Calvio said the new website makes it hard to find links and resources that helped students before.

“Especially with the library, we have a lot of databases,” Calvio said.  

Like Calvio, Brittany Mccoslin, a writing tutor for the writing center said she “found it very difficult” to find what she was looking for.

“When I originally search for ‘library,’ it kind of gives you this long list of other links. I used to just be able to go down and click ‘library,’ but now I can’t find that down at the bottom,” Mccoslin said. 

Mccoslin also said she would add “quick links on the main page to commonly used places.”  She added this would be especially helpful after it took her about 30 minutes to find a link. 

However, not all feedback from students is negative. Kinesiology senior Katie Rodriguez said the redesign looks “nicer.” Rodriguez uses the website mostly to pay for tuition and register for classes. 

“It’s a little bit messy, but I think it’s just because it’s a brand new site,” Merten said. 

“It was a little confusing at first,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like once I start using it more, it’ll probably be easy again.” 

Sharing Rodriguez’s sentiments, history senior Dylan Merten said the new website is “not that bad” and “it’s just going to take time” to get used to the redesign. 

“It’s a little bit messy, but I think it’s just because it’s a brand new site,” Merten said. 

The only thing Merten would change would be to have tabs for frequently used links at the top of the webpage, as it was before the redesign. Merten said this is because it gets a bit confusing at times when having to scroll.

Meyer would like students to appreciate the room for new visual content. 

“It’s a much nicer, vibrant website,” Meyer said.

Finally, Arnold added that one of the biggest goals is to have the website “reflect an authentic view” of what it’s like to be a student, faculty or staff member of the university. 

To provide feedback on the website, Meyer suggested calling the ITS Help Desk at 210-784-4357 or visiting the ITS landing page to submit a ticket.

About the Authors

Xochilt Garcia
Staff Writer
Xochilt Garcia is a sophomore at Texas A&M University-San Antonio majoring in communications. In her downtime Xochilt enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and listening to music in all forms. Xochilt hopes to become a full-time reporter, traveling and bringing light to the stories that matter to the community.
Irma Saenz
Multimedia Editor
I’m Irma Saenz and I am a communications major from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. Photojournalism, Television, Film, Social Media and News are just some of things I like to work on. I don’t have a preference, so dipping my toes where I can helps me gain experience.

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