SRU adding new features to its website’s homepage
Slippery Rock University is introducing new features on its homepage, www.sru.edu, including auto-playing background video and SVG animation.
Jan. 17, 2019
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - With the start of the semester, Slippery Rock University's website, www.sru.edu, will be sporting a new look and the latest features in web technology to enhance user experience. Beginning the weekend of Jan. 18-20, visitors will see auto-playing background video, animation and new placement of featured content.
"We continually make improvements to the website by implementing the latest trends in web technology, marketing and design, while also satisfying the needs and desires of our audiences and enhancing the user experience," said Darcy White, SRU director of web communications and development. "Features like background video will be a first for SRU. It's rare to see these features appear on college and university homepages, but people are seeing it more on websites in the corporate world and expect institutions on the cutting edge to provide similar experiences."
SRU's Office of Communication and Public Affairs led the project. The most visible change to the SRU homepage will be the auto-playing background video which features various clips representing a cross section of the University. Other new media elements include an animation of the University seal and other features using Scalable Vector Graphics. SVG allows images and graphics to interact and behave in a way that adapt to a user's particular web browser.
"Our goal is to satisfy the content needs of our audiences while also achieving a 'wow' factor," White said. "Web technology is ever-changing, but we also must meet web standards affecting search engine optimization and users with disabilities."
The new background video will automatically play on nearly all desktop computers, especially those using an updated web browser, and many of the latest mobile devices. The website will continue to load if users are not using an updated browser or mobile devices with lower screen resolutions, but some may not display the background video and animation.
"We try to design the homepage in such a manner that it gives the most optimal experiences on all devices," said White, who helped SRU become one of the first schools among its peers to implement a website with responsive design, allowing the website to be viewed on mobile devices of varying screen sizes. "We'll continue to modify technology and design elements to meet the current trends and standards, as well as the desires of our audiences."
The featured content on the homepage, previously displayed as large rotating graphics known as billboards, will be relocated just beneath the video. The pair of billboard graphics will actually increase visibility, White said, because they will appear each time the homepage loads rather than the user having to toggle through multiple billboards as in the homepage's previous iteration.
The University's website has won a number of national awards for design and usability.
"We're very proud of the site and the work that content managers across the University do to make sure our visitors have access to the content they need in a manner that is dynamic, user-friendly and readily adapts to meet the diverse and changing needs of our constituents," White said. "These enhancement ensure we continue to be relevant, fresh and engaging."
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