Science - September 15, 2005

Website under construction

Wageningen UR is getting ready for a big shake-up of its websites. From December, the information that is currently spread over 150 sites and sub-sites will be presented through one coherent website.

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The spring-cleaning operation is intended to make the online information more orderly and therefore easier to manage than it is at present. ‘The complaint we hear most is that the websites are confusing. Visitors get annoyed because they cannot find things quickly, and surfers give up if they don’t find something within thirty seconds,’ says Kristel Klein of the department of Corporate Communication. She is leader of the Wever-project that was set up to tidy up the Wageningen UR website. ‘If you look carefully there are similarities between the LEI and Alterra websites, but they have completely different appearances. We want to get rid of that. We want to make the relationships clear and guide visitors as quickly as possible to the information they are seeking, regardless of where they enter the website,’ says Klein. The transformation will be radical. ‘All current sites will be unplugged. We will keep them alive behind the scenes for a while, just to make sure we don’t throw away vital information by mistake,’ adds Klein. The Van Hall Larenstein website will not be included at this stage. After a long period of preparatory work, an empty website is now ready to be filled. There is now one content-management system available instead of the many systems currently used by the various webmasters. As Klein puts it: ‘Now it’s child’s play.’ Courses have been set up to help chair groups, institutes and courses with the migration. There is also a specially trained A-team of students available for help. According to Klein, the most important advantages of the new website are the improved search possibilities and a clearer webpage structure. On each webpage there is a clear ‘breadcrumb trail’ showing the route you have taken, so you can’t get lost. / GvM

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