New university website aims to serve its users needs even more

18 May 2022

Anyone visiting the homepage tomorrow (Thursday) via a Radboud University connection will be the first to see the new website. RU.nl has been slimmed down and is more service-oriented.

It was an enormous job to transform the 150.000 pages, which make up the old website, into a new website. However, no pages are transferred, director of marketing and communication Pim van Zanen emphasises. Existing information is presented in a new manner.

What exactly will we see on Thursday?

‘The most important tasks for the various target groups will be displayed in the new site. Think of information about the study programmes for students, but also the news items and vacancies. That is part one of the launch. For parts that are not yet on the new website, you are linked to the old website.’

That will exist a little while longer?

‘We expect it to exist for at least another year. But only for information that cannot yet be found on the new site. If there is a new page, the old one is deleted.’

Screenshot van de nieuwe site. Foto: RU

What is the idea behind the new website?

‘Instead of sending information, we now start from the user’s needs. The content you see answers existing questions. Sometimes you can get the answer from the search results in Google without having to click through to our site. We can also use the site’s content in other places, such as social media and the portal, and we can link systems, such as information from Osiris. That reduces the chance of errors and outdated information.’

Was cleaning up really that necessary?

‘Yes, many of those 150.000 pages were barely ever visited, duplicates or no longer relevant. There were 450 editors at different programmes or departments that published information regularly. That number will also be decreased on the new website. From now on, this will be done by marketing and communication professionals who publish new information while keeping the users needs in mind.’

Don’t you expect any objections from parties whose pages might disappear?

‘We have already had those discussions and we will certainly have them again. Certain information will possibly move to other places, such as blogs or Teams. We will continue to discuss with the organisation how information can best be presented.’

‘We underestimated how much time this would take’

Shouldn’t the new website have been implemented earlier?

‘We had a big ambition. We wanted to reduce 80 to 90 percent of the content, work with fewer editors and meet the needs of the users. We underestimated how much time this would take, together with the complex technical development and the lockdown caused the delay. We never scaled back the ambition.’

And if there are users who are having trouble with the new site, where can they turn?

‘We are aware that there is still a lot missing. We do a lot of user testing and despite the fact that everyone is very positive, we still come across things that we expected to go differently. We will continue to optimise the site on a daily basis. That is really a different approach than updating every now and then. You have to experience the site for yourself, but I think it really makes more of an impact. If you do have questions or feedback, you can always contact us.’

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