URY website redesign 2006

By Matt Cornock

Click here to see the site archived in 2006.

Click here to see the site archived after redesign in 2007.

Joint effort

Three people all with the aim of updating the station image collaborated on the redesign, all called Matthew strangely: Fortune, Fullerton and Cornock. The first two doing the coding and tweaking, and the design and structure from me.

The redesign was spurred by a Marketing Project Group I set up in 2006 to discover how URY could attract more members, listeners and business clients. Our campus media competitors all had ‘extras’ aside from their normal content so it was time for URY to provide more than just what came out over the air, and most importantly make it easily accessible.

The previous website was not designed for mass expansion of our new interests and the navigation could be difficult at times. Also, I thought grey was a bit bland for an award winning radio station like URY! The station already had a vibrant colour: orange. Adding this vibrancy to the site was essential in creating more student appeal.

Design method

I constructed templates in HTML, then took a screen shot and pasted into PSP to change colours and shapes quickly, before refining and recoding. A final version was shipped to the other Matthews to code with the PHP backend required for all the dynamic elements of the site.

The final website was version 27. There was of a string of original tweaks on the previous website, before we all decided we may as well start all over again with a new design. We knew from the outset we wanted to give more width to the content area, so stripping the right column and making the fixed overhead content more economical was the first step.

I was also very keen to add more graphic and less text to the homepage, without reducing the good content available and SEO text. The website functionality also needed to be accessible via text-only browsers for our internal systems and access. So achieving a balance between text and image was hard. The big banner combination at the top, with a small nested banner, allows lots of flexibility in the homepage design to relate to forthcoming events and for casual promotion. See the banners page for examples.

The main motivation throughout was to make a homepage that was inviting, gave information but also wasn’t a clutter of hidden links. The redesign of the top, page-wide banner helped to include contact details and the siginficant areas of the site through which all other pages are reached.

Stripping away the horseshoe frame allowed microsites to flourish in individuality and give each operational team an identification. As part of the Marketing Project Group work, it was felt that emphasising teams rather than ‘the big whole’ would attract more members who may only be interested in certain aspects. The music team example can be found here, archived from Feb 2007.

I no longer have a hand in the maintenance of the site since my graduation. I believe that a new redesign three years on is also underway. If you have any questions or comments about what we did in 2006 or how we did it, please feel free to email me.

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