If ever there was a time in recent history when the importance of digital technology and its ease of use has been brought to the forefront of our daily lives, it’s 2020. Whether grocery shopping, banking, supporting the local businesses we love, and learning – COVID-19 has ensured that we’re doing it mostly online.
With that increased attention on digital communication tools and given that Dalhousie’s primary public-facing web presence (dal.ca) hasn’t received a substantive update in almost a decade, it’s become clear that dal.ca is in need of some tender love and care to better serve the Dalhousie community. Luckily, that TLC is on its way.
Officially kicking off this fall, a multi-year project to renew Dalhousie’s website will begin and aims to ultimately deliver a reimagined dal.ca. The project is led by Communications, Marketing & Creative Services; Information Technology Services; and a cross-functional university team that includes representation from the Registrar’s Office, Libraries and various faculties. Its work will be guided with input and feedback from the university community.
Matt Proctor, assistant vice-president of Communications, Marketing & Creative Services, is excited for the process to kick off.
“Dal.ca is one of our most important communication tools,” he says. “From how we attract prospective students, to the way we engage with current students, faculty and staff, to how we help foster research and innovation, to how we connect with our 150,000+ worldwide alumni and community at large, dal.ca plays a vital role. An improved web presence will help Dalhousie continue to share its incredible story — of students, faculty, staff, researchers and alumni — globally.”
The objectives of the project are to deliver an improved user navigation, to simplify what is a complex site of over 100,000 pages today, and provide a more engaging experience overall. It will also be more responsive, making it more compatible with mobile devices and tablets. And perhaps most importantly, it will be more accessible, aligning with the Province’s goal of achieving an accessible Nova Scotia by 2030. (Read more: Toward a barrier-free Dalhousie: Accessibility goals take shape as Province sets standards)
The importance of accessibility
Josh Leon, chief information officer and assistant vice-president of Information Technology Services, highlights the importance of an accessible website for all users.
“Now more than ever, as everything continues to move online in this digital age, ensuring that our website is accessible to all is incredibly important. It benefits everyone.”
Donna Bourne-Tyson, dean of Libraries, is looking forward to what opportunities a new dal.ca will present, in the Libraries’ effort to support scholarly work across the institution.
“More and more, the online presence for Dalhousie’s Libraries is integral in supporting students and researchers across the institution. In many ways, our web presence is our largest and most visited branch.”
Have your say
With ongoing updates to be provided throughout the dal.ca renewal project, the research phase kicks off this fall with plans for the robust engagement of university academic faculties, administrative units and individual community members and groups — all who will help shape the future of dal.ca.
An initial user feedback survey is available at dal.ca/webproject and all community members are encouraged to spend five minutes and share their valuable feedback. You can also visit this page to stay up to date as the project progresses.
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