By Sam Nicholas
The Skagit Valley College website received a massive overhaul during break, surprising some students and staff as they came back to begin spring quarter. On March 26th, SVC updated the outdated website with a fresh new look, and a streamlined user experience to help students access information quicker. Marcus Badgley was hired by Skagit Valley College as the new web content specialist. He spoke about some of the challenges he and others encountered in developing a new digital face for the college. “Knowing the website is one of the most profound tools that the college can have to promote it […] my goal is to create one of the best community college websites in Washington”
A large emphasis is being placed on both the simplicity of navigation and the richness of content throughout the website. Everything is oriented towards helping students, whether they are new to college, continuing students, high schoolers, adults, military, or international students—to name a few. The new interface aims to help visitors get started efficiently, providing knowledge about SVC’s programs and services in as few website “layers” as possible.
Originally from California, Badgley has called upon his experience in everything from e-commerce and corporate email campaigns to graphic design and photography. The entire transition process takes over a year, starting with little changes to the basic design of the SVC website. Many of the significant updates have been behind the scenes, ensuring that all parts of the website are optimized for mobile devices. This scalability is especially important considering the wide array of devices that could be used to access information on the SVC website.
“I think the new website looks a lot more modern than the old one” commented SVC student Taylor S. Another student, Matt R., mentioned that he feels “it’s a lot easier to find information compared to the old website.” This sentiment is shared with many across campus, in part thanks to the efforts of focus groups during the earliest stages of this project. These groups represented a diverse spread of student demographics. In working with everyone, Badgley strongly believes that “this website should serve everybody.” As small improvements were made universally, feedback and fixing problems also advanced the transition. These focus groups will continue to provide feedback, and Badgley hopes that more people join to gain a better sense of what students want the user experience to be like.
Going forward, Badgley and his associates will further improve the photo and video content of the website. Video brings a superior level of immersion to visitors, allowing them to hear about campus life first-hand from students and community members. Top notch photographs further Badgley’s goal of “content richness” to draw people in. This is especially relevant due to the high number of international students that visit the website to learn more about SVC.
With the substantial diversity of the Skagit Valley and surrounding areas, the update also highlights a growing need for better multilingual accessibility. As this new website nears completion in the coming months, Badgley anticipates the implementation of a way for SVC website users to simply choose which language they would like to view.