NMU reboots website landing page

Pat Pearson

The NMU Identity, Brand and Marketing Office (IBM) is currently in the process of redesigning and revamping the university’s website. The project to redesign tens of thousands of university Web pages began last August and was officially unveiled this week. Thus far, the redesigned pages that are live are the NMU home page and admissions page.re-_MG_4036

Derek Hall, assistant vice president of IBM, said he hopes the website redesign will be complete by the beginning of March so the next class of freshmen will only know the new layout. Hall said one of the most alluring components to the new design is the branding video on the homepage.

“That video on the homepage has gotten rave reviews from everybody who has ever seen it.” Hall said. “I was talking to the admissions office and they’re having groups of students applaud after watching it.”

Director of Admissions Gerri Daniels said how important university websites are in terms of recruitment and attracting prospective students.

“The website has to tell and reflect the university’s story,” Daniels said. “When looking at various enrollment initiatives and the purpose of the university website, everyone’s pretty much coming around universally to the idea that the purpose of the website is to appeal to the prospective student audience.”

The IBM office contracted a local creative design agency, Elegant Seagulls, for construction and creative assistance of the new website design. Hall said that Elegant Seagulls was a good fit for NMU because a majority of their staff are NMU graduates and he thought those ties would be motivating.

“They’re very invested in Northern,” Hall said. “We really like working with them because every employee down there really wanted make sure that our site is the best.”

Ben Johnson, the creative director of Elegant Seagulls, and his team presented two options of web designs to the IBM office. Johnson said his team is known for doing more forward thinking, funky and progressive designs and is known for pushing the envelope.

“Our first idea was a bit too crazy or non-traditional, I guess you can say,” Johnson said. “Which is fine, I think it was good we showed them some diverse options.”

Johnson said workshopping the web design they presented was very productive.

“It was a really good partnership because they listened to us and we listened to them and then came up with a solution,” Johnson said.

“I think that as they evolve this site and keep pushing, it can only get better.”

For the past six weeks, the IBM office has been showing the site to NMU students, faculty and staff.

Hall said the feedback the IBM office has received so far has been positive.

“Going from the old site to the new one, I think people were shocked,” Hall said. “The design fundamentals have gone a lot further today than when the old website was developed.”

Johnson said taking on NMU as a client was an enjoyable experience.

“It’s exciting work with Northern,” Johnson said. “And it’s exciting to see things in the local area progress.”