The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC modernizes website with improved visuals, mobile access

Jesus Villafranco Perez
Photo Illustration.

City College unveiled a newly designed website this summer with improved visuals and increased accessibility for mobile devices, making it the first redesign in over 10 years. 

“It’s a much-improved design visually,” said newly hired Webmaster Hong Lieu.

Lieu was hired to fill the IT position, but the job title was changed from IT to webmaster to increase clarity, so it had no effect on the budget

“Before the old IT left it was more of IT side work,” Lieu said. “Now that this new position was created in Luz’s marketing and communications office, its point is for primary focus on the web and position.” 

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The website offers features for mobile, desktop, and tablet access as well as new pictures and graphics. 

Lieu said that an important part of this redesign was to integrate more photos, videos and multimedia aspects to the website. 

“Students want to see themselves,” Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Luz Reyes-Martin said. “They want to see real students from different backgrounds.”

According to Reyes-Martin and Lieu, it took about two years to launch the website due to the commitment to quality made early on. Every photo features students or faculty on campus, and a lot of time was spent taking high-quality photos to perfect their vision. 

The web team also made sure the City College community was very involved in the process, taking one year of the project to collect input from students, staff and faculty. 

“Our best input was from the students,” Reyes-Martin said. “They were very honest and very happy to give us their input about what they like or don’t like.” 

Although the change was something City College had wanted to do for some time, “it requires a lot of resources, and it just hadn’t been the right time for a while,” said Reyes-Martin. 

The redesign process began by sending out requests to firms specializing in website design for higher education. 

Reyes-Martin said the college spent a significant amount of time looking for a company that knew the laws around accessibility and had experience with developing a mobile-friendly website.

They decided to work with Ifactory, a website design company that focuses on community colleges and higher education. Lieu and Reyes-Martin said the company and the college worked synergistically throughout the process. 

Ifactory was responsible for the templates used in the new website. Lieu and Martin said the company was selected due to its excellent experience and reasonable cost. 

The proposal made by Ifactory was approximately $110,000. This cost was covered by non-general fund categorical funds with contributions from IT and marketing to fund the difference.

There was no trouble getting the school to sign off on this redesign, especially because of the amount of time City College waited to get the chance for a new, mobile-friendly, and easily accessible website for the entire community to use.  “There was a lot of support for that, and otherwise I don’t know how we would survive without Hong,” Reyes-Martin said. 

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