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Arts on view
New services for Web visitors
Customized entryways. Skidmore’s revamped Web site now offers, right at the top of its welcome page, four customized entrance pages for its major audiences: prospect-ive students; alumni, parents, and friends; current students; and faculty and staff. Each top page offers the links and news most useful to each audience, while also allowing full access to the entire 15,000-page college site.
Web visitors can easily find the information and services they need most often, without having to guess which department or office pages might house which services. The content of each main page was developed in response to detailed observations of users’ navigational expectations and confusions; future usability studies will help guide further improvements and fine-tuning of the site.
Dynamic news links. At Skidmore, every day (and every hour) brings frequent public announcements, news reports, campus events, and discussions and debates. Now each of the customized top pages offers regularly updated announcements and news of particular interest to its key audience. Database-driven, the news system simply copies headlines and links onto the appropriate entry pages and also automatically deletes them when they’re outdated.
Comprehensive events listing. Skidmore’s Web site also includes a new, all-inclusive college events calendar that consolidates a handful of separate online and paper events listings. The Web calendar is a searchable database that makes it easy to see what’s happening around campus, either by subject or by date. And any sponsor of a campus event can submit items through an online form to an automated room scheduler and to the calendar maintainers, who review and edit each listing before it’s posted.
Virus doctor. One Skidmore Web page lately has been drawing huge numbers of visitors, and thank-yous, from across the world: a help page for those battling the MTX computer virus. Tom Marcotte, a consultant in Skidmore’s Center for Information Technology Services, has taken up the cause against MTX, and his detection and repair programs are widely regarded as the authoritative solutions for MTX sufferers. The site is www.skidmore.edu/help/virus/mtx.html. —SR