New website format receives mixed review from students

The College hopes its altered home page will improve its online presence (TCNJ.edu).

Frequent visitors of the College’s website may have done a double-take when looking at the page anytime after Aug. 20. This is because its home page has been redesigned.

An email that the Office of Communications and College Relations sent to students announced the changes and stated that they were made “in our continuing effort to improve The College of New Jersey’s online presence.”

The new page features a large multimedia slideshow and a white background, compared to the previous blue one. There are also news stories with thumbnail photos.

“(The site) dynamically displays news stories from TCNJ’s News website as well as emergency alerts from TCNJ’s Emergency Management website,” said Matthew Golden, associate vice president for Communications and College Relations.

The intentions were to improve site navigation and the presentation of information, Golden said.

Direct links to the College’s mail system (Google Apps and Zimbra), SOCS and PAWS are now only one click away at the top right-hand side of the site. Links to the bookstore, Career Center and study abroad office are also more visible.

These changes were implemented by the Office of Communications and College Relations along with Information Technology. Golden explained that the homepage upgrade was accomplished internally and without bringing in consultants or contractors.

According to Golden, “We recently moved TCNJ’s home page to our WordPress server, which uses a modified version of a TCNJ theme that was originally released in January 2009.”

Upperclassmen definitely recognized the differences and have reacted in varying ways.

“I actually noticed it pretty quickly,” said Brian Hurler, sophomore economics major. “The website was definitely in need of an upgrade and was lacking compared to other college websites, so it’s good to see it got updated. It’s also much more organized and accessible than it used to be.”

Though senior Mariko Curran noticed of the updates as well, she did not come away impressed.

“I don’t really like that the home page slideshow takes up almost my entire screen — it makes navigation harder,” the English major said.

“Also, I’m not sure what’s necessary in order for this to happen, but I really hope the redundant URL is changed. Tcnj.pages.tcnj.edu? Really?” Curran commented in her critique of the site.

Echoing similar thoughts, senior Robert Catona, an interactive multimedia major, said, “I think it is great TCNJ is trying to update their website and create a better mobile home page, but they have really missed the mark.”

Explaining his opinion, Catona believes the previous home page was better in appearance and accessibility.

“It looks juvenile — it could be for my town’s elementary school, not a college,” he said. “Other state institutions like Rutgers have very attractive home pages. They are bold, visually appealing, and still informative. TCNJ’s current home page overwhelms you with the amount of information on it.”

While Catona is not fond of the page’s current appearance, he noted that this is simply because he holds the school to a higher standard.

“I really hope it is updated again soon and its aesthetics and functionality are improved,” Catona concluded. “TCNJ is a great institution academically and socially and that should be reflected when navigating to their home page.”