Binghamton University is all about the future. New Dickinson Community, new University Union — in just a few years, they tell us, our campus will be a public Ivy paradise — the gem of the Southern Tier. We’re in the middle of a transformation, and it’s exciting! But sometimes it’s good to live in the now. And right now, we have a problem, a problem that no one seems to be addressing. It’s our University website. And it’s bad.
When it’s time to decide where to go to college, prospective students go where people go when they need help with anything: the Internet. Students surf www.nyu.edu, www.cornell.edu — pretty standard. And then they stumble upon www.binghamton.edu, and something goes horribly wrong. They’re met with an online nightmare, a bubonic plague of web design, an Internet genocide, the KONY of college websites! How is this OK?
The website front page is framed in a gray checkerboard gradient. It’s a dated appearance. In terms of layout, the page is too busy. There are three rows of links surrounding a wide-screen photo slideshow. The photos chosen for the front page give no indication of what our campus looks like. Instead you’re met with a series of students in lab coats and in small classrooms. We get it, research university. But why not a flattering clock tower photo, or even an infinity fountain shot? Nature Preserve? Academic Building A? Something outside, anything, please?
A website should promote a mentality. We should use more greens. We should use more color in general.
Currently, the top menu bar includes nine links, like “giving” and “libraries.” Instead of having so many links appear at once, we could have pull-down catalogs when you drag the mouse over certain menu bars. Undergraduate admissions and graduate admissions should be moved from the front page to their own respective pages, because they just add disorder. Instead, the below-the-photo content should only be University news.
We should add more interactive elements, like virtual tours and videos. Also, we should synthesize with Bingspot.com, which serves as our community’s online epicenter. A Bingspot page within the website would connect the community to the University.
Instead of having out-of-date photos that don’t highlight our university’s attributes, we should implement a photo slideshow of daily photos. The daily photos page features our campuses most attractive elements; they should be front and center.
We’re reinventing our school, from our campus to our residence halls. But sometimes the easiest changes can be the most effective. Our website represents our university, and we’re simply not doing our campus justice. Binghamton University has never looked better, and yet our website looks the same. Instead of constantly looking at the future, it may be time to look at www.binghamton.edu and implement some changes. And don’t even get us started with BU Brain.