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University redesigns UND.com

Adam Llorens | Thursday, September 22, 2011

In an effort to make information more accessible and user friendly for the students, alumni and fans of the Irish, the Notre Dame Athletic Department launched a new UND.com webpage September 15.

Dan Skendzel, the Director of Digital Media for Notre Dame athletics, played an integral role in the redesign of the site.

“We wanted to improve the viewer experience,” Skendzel said. “We felt the previous site was too busy and difficult to navigate, so, by redesigning UND.com, we wanted clean up the site, make it more visually appealing, and make it easier than ever before to find news, videos and stats.”

Among the major changes to the site is the deletion of the video thumbnail that appeared at the right hand side of the screen. Now, a video channel allows the viewer to easily select a specific video and watch it on a larger format than before.

Skendzel collaborated with Tim O’Connor, Digital Communications Specialist for the athletic department, in redesigning the website.

“The new site promotes a clearer presentation of what we feel is the most important content,” O’Connor said.

Feedback for the website has been positive, O’Connor said.

“The old site had been around since 2007 and people had gotten used to it,” O’Connor said. “When the current site went live, it had a breath of fresh air feel to it.”

The cleanliness of the content and the easier readability of articles have been the two most important changes, Skendzel said.

When looking to redesign its athletic website, a university will often turn to an opposing school to garner ideas.

Notre Dame went through the same process, O’Connor said.

“I did a graphic review of basically every BCS school and most of the NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB team websites,” O’Connor said. “While we really did not use a lot from any of them, I was most impressed with UCLA’s athletic website uclabruins.com, as their layout and the way in which they presented content was fantastic.”

Instead of a specific school or team, O’Connor turned to ESPN.com for the most inspiration.

“The template ESPN uses was something that I felt UND.com needed,” O’Connor said.

Student feedback has paralleled that of Fighting Irish fans across the country.

“I think the new website is much better than the older one,” freshman Jose Linardi said. “The way the current one presents information and video is smarter and gives the viewer an overall better experience.”

Sophomore Jamie O’Donohue agreed.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I logged on to the new UND.com webpage and found it had changed,” O’Donohue said. “The new site is less cluttered than the old one, allowing me to access the information I need quickly.”