redesign, Part 2: Responding to a new era of users

Since the 2010 redesign of the FIU homepage, responsive web design has taken the driver’s seat for many university web teams. It’s a direct result of students, faculty and staff using mobile devices to access the web as often – if not more often – than using a desktop or laptop computer.

In the 2012 Noel Lovitz report titled, The Mobile Browsing Behaviors and Expectations of College-Bound High School Students, it was found that 52 percent of students surveyed have viewed a school’s site from a mobile device and 48 percent said they would have a better opinion of a school because of a good mobile site experience.

2-column mobile layoutAlong with several other universities, FIU is redesigning its homepage to meet the needs of its users. The final product is a result of usability testing, hundreds of website feedback emails, research on best practices for the web, and lots of testing on iPhones, Android devices, different tablets and computers. While offering a new, more vibrant look and feel for those of you viewing the site on a full-size screen, the look and feel of the website will also mold itself to whatever device you’re viewing it on.  You’ll now have a unique experience when you visit the website on your mobile phone or tablet.

Web Communications lead developer Andre Oliveira said, “One of the most important things to remember is that the web is always changing, and we have to keep up with it.” According to technology research firm Gartner, “Mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access devices worldwide by 2013.”

Lead designer on the project was Interaction Designer Fabian Alcantara, who embraced the robust creative process redesigning

“It’s been a fun ride striving to always find a balance between beauty and usefulness on the design for this website,” he said. “No matter how you are accessing the FIU site, whether on a Desktop, iPhone, Android or iPad, you’ll be immersed in the experience that’s based on a single responsive design.”

Other parts in this series: Redesign Part 1: New Features Redesign Part 3: Preparing You for Launch