College of Architecture rolls out
phase one of website renovation


The College of Architecture at Texas A&M went live 9/9/09 with the first phase of its ongoing website renovation, a project aimed at providing a more user-friendly interface combining ease of navigation with useful content that better reflects the aims and culture of the institution.

The new site was designed to address problems and desires articulated by site visitors in an online survey conducted last fall. Survey respondents included current, potential and former students, as well as parents, faculty and members of the larger academic, professional and service communities.

“I am very pleased with the initial results of this months-long effort from our dedicated Web team,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the college. “ The new website provides a powerful tool for communicating the college’s talent, infrastructure and capacity for significantly and positively impacting the professions we serve and society at large.”

Enhancements to the new College of Architecture website include:

  • A more intuitive navigational structure with one-click access to the college’s four academic departments and five research centers;
  • A new section catering to prospective students with links to academic program overviews, as well as application information;
  • A new “college culture” section featuring a collection of photo slideshows offering a glimpse at college life;
  • A home page highlighting the latest college news and events, and spotlighting department news as well as content of special interest;
  • A page highlighing some of the best student work from the college’s academic programs;
  • A college history webpage full of rich media including video comments from students representing different eras of the college and a slideshow of historical photos; and
  • Standing links to the college’s social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

While phase one of the redesign focused exclusively on college-level Web pages, future efforts will target website renovations for college’s four departments and five research centers. The next phase of the redesign project calls for enhancing and automating the site’s news and calendaring features to provide rotating data and real time news and event updates on the home page, as well as select pages throughout the website.

The new site also employs a number of technical enhancements that improve the site’s functionality, stability and accessibility. Almost 100% of the site is XHTML 1.0 and CSS 3.0 compliant, meaning support is vastly improved for the top three market browsers — Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari. Such compliance also helps ensure accessibility. Furthermore, YouTube videos are the only Flash-based elements used on the website; all other effects use JavaScript to ensure faster page loads and improved accessibility. In subsequent phases, RSS, iCal, vCard, and other digital feed support will be added to provide other means of information aggregation.

The redesign was orchestrated by Chris Weldon, Web team lead for the College of Architecture. The site was designed by a student team in the college’s communications office, including graduate visualization students Jose Guinea Montalvo, Leticia Silva and Julie Pool, who worked under the direction of Phillip Rollfing, director of communications. Students working under Weldon in the college’s Information Technology Services office — Krishna Kamath, Saranath Bahukudumbi, Jayadurga Ganapathi, Keyur Sadhani, and Nabeel Shahzad — helped code and otherwise implement the new design.

The new Texas A&M College of Architecture website may be viewed at

Posted Sept. 09, 2009

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