ANN ARBOR— The University of Michigan Department of Biomedical Engineering has just launched a new version of its website designed to better tell the BME story and allow users to access the information that matters to them quickly and intuitively.
In a year-long process of analysis, development, and testing, BME worked with the College of Engineering’s Office of Communications & Marketing to design a site that achieved several important goals. “First, we wanted a more modern, engaging look,” says Brandon Baier, the department’s marketing communication specialist. “We also wanted to make the site ‘responsive,’ meaning that it scales and functions seamlessly from a PC to a tablet to a phone. Finally, we wanted our visitors to see right away where to go for key information – and to get there with fewer clicks.”
While the entire site is geared to conveying the quality, the scope, and especially the impact of BME research, it’s now easier for specific audiences to get the tailored information they need. This includes helping prospective faculty and PhD students identify BME’s research specialties at a glance and envision what it would be like to learn and work in a department known for accessible collaborations between researchers in U-M’s top 10 medical and engineering schools.
The site also focuses on connecting students with industry – helping recruiters understand what BME students at every level can do for them, and helping students access the internships and jobs with companies seeking the department’s range of basic science and lab-to-clinic expertise.
In addition, thanks to an extensive design process informed by stakeholder interviews, user surveys, and techniques designed to tease out the most logical, intuitive navigation structure and tools, the new site should simply feel easier to use. “Our testing allowed us to not only improve the architecture but add touches of accessibility in areas like the clarity of buttons and text contrast and size so that users with perceptual difficulties will have a better experience,” says John Leftwich, a user experience designer from the CoE Office of Communications & Marketing. “We were also able to streamline text and the number of options per page to account for cognitive load, which helps everybody.”
The new BME site was one of the office’s first official overhauls; it is now working with other departments to upgrade their web presence. For more information, visit cm.engin.umich.edu.