Over the past year, Luther College has seen a 70.44 percent increase in mobile device traffic and a 46.12 percent increase in tablet traffic to its main website, www.luther.edu. To ensure that users who visit the college's website using a mobile device have the same great experience as desktop users, the college invested resources in designing a responsive website.
Responsive web design is aimed at creating or designing sites to provide the best viewing experience across a range of devices. Users of devices from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors should be able to read and navigate webpages easily with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling.
The 2013 study "2013 E-Expectations Report: The impact of mobile browsing on the college search process," reported that of 2,000 American high school juniors and seniors: 78 percent had regular access to a mobile device; 43 percent reported using their mobile devices for all their web browsing; 68 percent said they had viewed college websites on a mobile device; 73 percent expressed interest in downloading campus-specific applications for schools on their target list; 47 percent checked email on their mobile devices daily; and 67 percent checked at least once per week.
Luther Director of Web Content Tabita Green said, "From a design standpoint, we wanted to build on the current luther.edu design and simply refresh the look and feel with up-to-date fonts and colors, and also incorporate the latest web technology has to offer.
"The biggest changes relate to how the individual site navigation operates. To present users with fewer options, so they don't get overwhelmed, we are grouping pages in logical categories with an accordion-style interface."
The Web Content team worked with Nathan Dirks, Luther College class of 2004, of Driftless Design on the responsive project. Driftless Design builds custom, uncluttered websites for businesses, organizations and individuals from the Driftless Area of the upper Midwest.
The 10-month project involved Luther's web content group and software development team, who worked in collaboration with content creators throughout campus.
In conjunction with the responsive design project, the college will release a new version of its Admissions site. The changes to the site reflect input from an expert review, multiple rounds of user testing and close collaboration with the Admissions team. In order to make the Admissions site more user-friendly, pertinent financial aid information is on the Admissions site so prospective families can get to the information they seek quickly and clearly.
As part of the main navigation of Luther's home page, the new Outcomes site on the main page, www.luther.edu/outcomes, will soon feature recent alumni stories of life after Luther as well as why students choose Luther, evidence of the value of a liberal arts education and additional resources for prospective students and their families.