Gettysburg to Redesign Website for First Time in 11 Years Amid ADA Non-Compliance
By Benjamin Pontz, Managing News Editor
It’s out with the orange and in with the blue on Gettysburg College’s official website, gettysburg.edu.
The orange that was previously the background color has been replaced with a deep blue after the college acted on a recommendation from a subcommittee formed to identify issues of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for web accessibility. That subcommittee continues to work on identifying changes that can be made to address accessibility concerns surrounding the current website.
However, these are simply interim measures as the college website undergoes a broad redesign with a new site targeted for a January 1, 2019 release. One requirement of the new website will be full compliance with ADA web standards.
The current website was last comprehensively redesigned in 2006, while the homepage was refreshed in 2013.
A sixteen-member committee that includes one student was formed to drive the web redesign process, and that group has received seven proposals. Three firms will visit campus to make presentations.
Jamie Yates, Director of Communications & Media Relations, said the college cannot yet release a specific figure for the cost of the project since it has not selected a vendor, but she said in an email, “We’ve done peer research to get a sense of what their redesigns have cost and we expect our redesign to be in line with their estimates.”
As part of the process for developing a new website, the college has retained Dartlet, a reputation and research strategist, to conduct sessions on campus aimed at strengthening the college’s reputation and clarifying a brand to be reflected in college communications and marketing.
Yates emphasized that the Dartlet project is not confined to the website redesign and will affect all campus communications.
“The results of their findings will ultimately help to strengthen the College’s reputation and position in the higher education marketplace,” she said.
Dartlet conducted brainstorming sessions on campus the last week of September that Yates described as “well-attended” and “thought-provoking.” An advertisement for the workshops that appeared on the daily email digest said that the workshops would “unpack the College’s traits, faults, and truths” to “help the College define ‘who we are’ as an institution.”
In the coming weeks, Dartlet will analyze input from the focus groups, run student-only workshops, audit the college’s competitors, and conduct a market perception study. Ultimately, they will return to campus in November to present their findings in a meeting open to the campus community.
From there, the college will retain a web contractor that will complete the ultimate construction of the new site.