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SBCC website to be revamped by summer with help from iFactory

JOSIE FIALKO, Channels Staff

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The City College Website Redesign Team held a meeting Thursday, Nov. 16, in Administration Building Room 211 to discuss the progress of the new site, which is set to be launched end of spring semester.

As announced in a previous article by The Channels, the planning team has partnered with the company, iFactory, responsible for other sites such as Bennington College and the nonprofit organization, Helen Keller Services, to create a new homepage that will be more accessible and a better representation of City College’s mission.

“A new web design aims to make it simpler for students to find most frequently sought information – or where to go to get more detailed info,” said Luz Reyes-Martin, executive director of public affairs and communications.

Pete Gaioni, vice president of account services for iFactory, gave a presentation of all the work the team has accomplished so far since the project began last year.

Focusing on the long term goals they hope to reach, the planning team’s target is to appeal to new and prospective students by presenting a more welcoming and helpful experience.

“We want to start making [the website] more of an introduction to Santa Barbara City College,” Gaioni explained. “Rarely does a website actually completely convince a person all the way through to apply, often times it takes some human intervention.”

In order for people to learn more about City College, the team has put an emphasis on a fresh, new layout with clearly placed tabs and updated links to only the most important information regarding City College.

With the intention of authentically representing City College and deepening user engagement, the website will have more of an introduction for students without the overwhelming, excess of information the site currently has, the team explained.

“This is about building relationships, it’s not about telling them all the details of everything they need to know until the end of time,” Gaioni said.

The current website’s main issue is the lack of an accurate representation of the mission and story that City College wants to portray, according to Reyes-Martin.

By knowing how influential a good website can be, the success of the website is achieved by making that initial “wow” impression, according to Gaioni.

“Brand is an emotional thing,” Gaioni said about the website’s new layout. “It’s always in the context of an image, with a message that appeals to their hopes and dreams, and then leads them to do something. It’s always about taking an action.”

To give City College a more personal approach, the new website will also feature student stories. By connecting with its audience, the team anticipates that it will help prospective students understand what it’s actually like to be a student at City College and all the opportunities that may follow.

By appealing to the hopes and dreams of future students, as well as current, the updated website aims to build a connection through its tone of action.

“[The website] will allow the College to ‘tell its story’ about who our students are, how amazing our faculty are, and the comprehensive student services we offer,” Reyes-Martin told The Channels in an email.

Mobile consistency between devices is also a main focus for the team. New versions of the site will ensure the accessibility will be as consistent for any cellular device as it is from a desktop. There will also be a version for tablets as well.

“This will allow users to have a consistent, high quality experience across devices,” said Reyes-Martin. “We are also ensuring that the design is in compliance with mandated accessibility standards.”

In order to remain competitive within the market of higher education, a “responsibly designed and adequately accessible website” is required to provide users with an apt experience of what City College is all about, according to Gaioni.

“It’s not really about Santa Barbara City College, it’s about the user,” Gaioni said. “It’s about what SBCC can do for you.”

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.
SBCC website to be revamped by summer with help from iFactory