As the CAHNR school year begins, its many audiences and stakeholders have two redesigned and updated websites to help them with all things CAHNR. One site is for the College as a whole, and the other serves as an e-commerce store for CAHNR-related products.
“The overall mission of the CAHNR website is to offer a welcoming and easy-to-access front door to the College,” said Executive Assistant Sara Putnam, who represented CAHNR in the redesign process. The improved navigation connects users to the wide range of programs offered by the College.
For example, current and prospective students can quickly find a path to undergraduate or graduate student information from the top menu. And, CAHNR alumni are directed to a website specifically for them, which was redesigned at the same time as the main site. Everyone who comes to the website can read the latest Naturally@UConn blog postings, see current and historical images, get more information about upcoming events and connect to units, departments and offices from links on the homepage.
In addition to reaching students and graduates, the site aims to engage journalists, legislators and researchers. Putnam hopes the site will be useful in answering questions and distributing information about the College’s area of expertise to professional practitioners and members of the public, as well.
The second CAHNR site that has a new look and improved usability was built for the Resource Store. This online store sells professional and certification exam preparation manuals for Connecticut agricultural producers, such as the New England Greenhouse Floriculture Guide, and publications authored by CAHNR faculty. It also offers College logo-imprinted clothing and gift items, including shirts and a UConn Forest cutting board. In addition, some publications are free downloads.
“Every design decision in this site was made for our particular audience, products and staff. Therefore, it will feel more simple and natural than our previous store,” said Nicholas Hanna, who did the computer programming for the new site.
Computer Programmer and Analyst Hanna completely customized the user experience based on staff observations made while working with the old site. For instance, he allows the customer to to make a purchase without creating an account. He also added autocomplete for the customers’ convenience in searching and entering a partial address. The store is run on a secure server, and the resulting look and feel are consistent with other UConn websites, according to Hanna.
Visitors to the site can opt for the convenience of CAHNR products delivered to their door. If they prefer to save the shipping costs, customers can order online and then pick up the merchandise on the UConn Storrs campus during business hours. The online store is integrated with the in-office cash register to make the process easier. Complete location and contact information is listed on the website.
The redesigned websites give CAHNR’s audiences and stakeholders two attractive and easy-to-use tools. The sites were worked on by CAHNR’s Web Team, which consists of Hanna, Graphic Designer Kevin Noonan, and Publicity and Marketing Administrator Patsy Evans with input from Putnam.