Tuesday, November 10, 2009


In January 2004, or sometime around then, SIUC tried to make uniform all the departmental webpages by instituting a template requirement; we were to put a red and white striped banner across our main page; it had various links in it, including link to SIUC proper, search, the applyPage (Apply Now, it said), athletics, jobs, etc. Interior pages could have a vertical banner that was simpler but also redder, and had the same links, basically.

Web designers across campus complained that the colors were hard to work with, and in fact, SIUC would not tell how they made the red, so the webmasters had to find other dull colors that made it look good, and not try to match it. They had chosen the design from among many, but it still was unpopular. The clocktower logo that appeared within it turned out to be popular, though; even today people are using that clocktower image in creative ways, and it serves as a fairly good, popular logo for the university and its web designers.

The red-and-white banner page, however, never went over well, and ultimately the university let it go, and gave web designers the freedom to make their own pages without being trapped within the maroon template. Most departments have done so, I'm sure.

There are still hundreds of pages with the banner template and the vertical-bar template, however. Our department has two banners and three or four hundred vertical-bars alone. It's mostly because we haven't upgraded old pages to better templates.

The "Apply Now" links on these templates stopped working in 2007. Perhaps the university web system was reorganized, or a system was initiated that did not honor the capital letter in the link URL. In any case, on our pages at least, anyone who clicked "Apply Now" got a 404 message; this has been going on for a couple of years, apparently. The button at the bottom of the banner template (also saying "Apply Now" is dead also. You would think they'd put a redirect on the applyPage, and send people over to the new one, which is simply applypage.html; redirects are not impossible, apparently. You would think they would warn us, webmasters of the various departments, also. Not that I have time to fix 400 pages, but I'd at least like to know if the main ones have dead links. I had mistakenly considered that banner to be taken care of; it was, after all, imposed upon us.

No such luck. By the way, I can't imagine a good way to solve SIUC's enrollment crisis. We definitely need to get more people to apply to our programs; it would be good for us in general. If they could apply by clicking on those buttons, that would help, I'm sure. Maybe somebody could apply themselves to this situation.



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