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New redesign streamlines navigation, combines umc.edu, ummchealth.com

Frequent visitors to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s main websites may have noticed a few changes when they’ve logged onto umc.edu or ummchealth.com since last Wednesday.

Larger photos, a streamlined navigation menu and a more modern presentation are hallmarks of a redesign that now combines both sites into one address: umc.edu.

Kerry Marshall, information technology program manager who shepherded the project from the Division of Information Systems, said the time had come to refresh the institution’s primary public electronic communications hub.

“We’ve had our previous sites for several years and it was time to update the look, feel and functionality,” Marshall said. “We also needed to have a site that was effective regardless of the device used to access it.

“The new site uses responsive design techniques to automatically adjust the view, depending on the screen size of the device accessing the site.”

In addition to being more smartphone- and tablet-friendly, the revamped site fully encompasses all three of the institution’s mission areas.

“Two sites had become unnecessary,” said Rondah Marks, chief marketing officer. “It just made sense to reconstruct both sites into one more powerful Internet footprint which allows for better search engine optimization.

“The site is formatted more simply, functions better and can speak better to our audiences.”

She said representatives from DIS, Marketing and Public Affairs and key stakeholders at UMMC collaborated on the design to ensure “each area had a voice in the prioritization of their information.”

“We combined all of the information gathered and made decisions about the overarching messaging, design, formatting and function as one cohesive team based upon what was best for every audience and every area as a whole.”website_2.jpg

Nash Mixon, senior web software developer, had an instrumental role in developing the basic design, while Todd Bridges, senior web software developer, steered many of the functional aspects of the project. Steve Waite served as manager of the overall project for DIS.

“Going forward, I think the new site will feature a good blend of Marketing’s promotional creativity and Public Affairs’ news content development expertise,” said Tom Fortner, chief public affairs and communications officer. “This was a huge undertaking that represents a lot of work by a lot of people from each of our respective areas.

“We’re happy with the result, but will continue to refine it.”

Marshall said although the redesign debuted last week, the website remains in a state of transition and DIS is continuing to make adjustments as needed.

For example, “The Children’s of Mississippi section of ummchealth.com will be incorporated under umc.edu in the future,” he said. “We have brought specific navigation elements for each area to the front and are creating cross-reference links throughout the site.”

Marshall said because the redesign is an ongoing process, “We ask all UMMC faculty, staff and students to be patient while we work through many challenging opportunities involved with a site of this size.”