Inside Indiana University’s

Amanda Kohn by on Jun 04, 2015

responsivedesignalumniIn late February, Indiana University (IU) introduced a new but potentially redundant sitelet, designed to help alumni manage their IUAA membership, monetary gifts, IU activities and resources (e.g., career and event materials).The sitelet provides a mix of both public and private content repurposed from the Indiana University Alumni Association (IUAA) website. Despite the launch of the new alumni-focused sitelet, additional alumni content remains within the IUAA website, including details about large alumni events such as reunions and homecoming. The university announced the new site through a notification on the My IU page within the IUAA website, which explained that all users were required to create a new account. The new site employs a responsive design, offering a consistent experience across multiple devices, browsers and screen sizes. Overall, the responsive design helps improve the user experience, but the addition of a new sitelet seems counterproductive, as the content is repetitive of the IUAA website.

The My IU sitelet employs the same color scheme as the existing IUAA website, and provides links directly on the homepage to create an account, sign in, give a gift to IU, join the IUAA and view the alumni directory. The navigation menu contains six tabs – Give Now, IUAA Membership, Enhance Your Career, Events, Alumni Directory and My IU Profile – as well as private pages – Make a Pledge Payment (under Give Now), Alumni Directory and My IU Profile – that require users to log into their account with a username and password. Within the My IU Profile tab, alumni can update their profile and account information. Prior to the new sitelet, alumni navigated through two separate sections – Account Management and Alumni Directory – within the My IU page of the IUAA site in order to update their account or edit their profile. Centralizing all profile information into a single tab does expedite the updating process.

New My IU Homepage (Truncated)

But let’s consider the original iteration of the alumni portal. Unless IU is planning to scrap the Alumni Association section of its current website – of which it has indicated no intention – the microsite seems eerily reminiscent of the existing platform. The IUAA website consists of nine tabs – About IUAA, Become a Member, Get Together, Shape IU’s Future, Enhance Your Career, IU Insider, Show Pride, For Parents and Students and My IU – that provide a variety of information and resources including event information, membership fees and an online gift form. Specifically, the My IU tab consists of four sections – Alumni Directory, Indiana University Alumni Magazine, Career Tools and Membership – that all direct alumni to corresponding pages within the new sitelet. Previously, the tab included an additional Account Management section for updating profile information and account details. However, all of the information within the new sitelet is redundant, as the content and resources are all available from the IUAA site.

IUAA Website – My IU Tab (Truncated)

Despite the addition of responsive design, and the accelerated access to account management, the new website is simply redundant. It is unclear why Indiana University added the new site, and why it would confusingly relocate users from the existing My IU page to a new site with seemingly identical content. It would have made more sense to add responsive design to the entire IUAA site, and update the sections within the My IU page, rather than launching a separate (and poorly differentiated) standalone site. Instead of directing alumni to a separate sitelet, IU should consider simply improving upon its existing Alumni Association website with the updated design, forms and information from the now gratuitous microsite.

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About The Author

Amanda Kohn

Amanda is a Senior Research Associate for Alumni Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more