A Peek Behind the Curtain

Welcome to the ND.edu blog. The purpose of this site is to give the reader a behind-the-scenes view of the who, how, and why of what you see on the Notre Dame homepage, brought to you by the entire team.

Now is an exciting time for ND.edu as we’re in the early stages of a complete redesign. We intend to use this site as a means of discussing these changes and providing a glimpse of what you can expect before changes show up on the homepage. So we hope you’ll visit often, subscribe to our feed, and join us in the many conversations that take place when redesigning the homepage of a major university.

ND.edu Popular Sites Safari Extension

When we redesigned the University’s website in 2007, we replaced many links in the primary content of the homepage with “Popular Sites”, a customizable list of links. Popular Sites has been quite successful (judged by the high number of clicks) and is used as a convenient homepage by many campus users.

Now, in order to better serve the University community, we’re releasing a series of browser extensions that will provide similar functionality but also be available to users no matter what site they’re currently on. These extensions will provide quick links to only those pages users want, from any point on the internet.

We’re working on extensions for several popular browsers, and the first out the door is for Safari The others will be released in the next few weeks and months.

Download the Safari Extension for ND.edu Quick Access

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Go to the AgencyND labs page and click on Safari Extension. This will automatically download and enable the ND.edu Quick Access extension. Alternatively you can access the extension directly from the project repository.
  3. You’ll see the toolbar above the site window.

Once you’ve downloaded the extension, you can change the default links in the toolbar, if you’d like. Here’s how:

Customize the Safari Extension for ND.edu Quick Access

  1. Open the Safari Preferences window (Click Safari and then Preferences in the top left of your computer screen.
  2. Choose ND.edu Quick Access.
  3. Check the links you want included and un-check those you don’t.
  4. Close the preferences window.

Note: If you use Safari on Windows, you must have Quicktime installed if you want the Victory March feature to work. Download Quicktime.

Watch this blog for future releases. The Chrome extension will be announced shortly.

Building a Better ND.edu

Today we welcome a guest post by Julie Flory, Director of Public Relations.

Great news on the Web front – the Notre Dame home page is about to get an upgrade in order to improve usability and create new opportunities for showcasing content. We want to keep our campus communicators in the loop as we work toward a not-entirely-new (but definitely improved) ND.edu, so be sure to keep an eye on the AgencyND blog for updates.

ND.edu Phase 1: a glimpseHere in OPAC, our team has put together a yearlong, multi-phase plan to gradually incorporate into the site a number of tweaks – some small and some a bit more noticeable – but all designed to create a better user experience. After analyzing the site and considering feedback and data from the past three years, we have come up with a plan that addresses all aspects of the home page – from the global navigation to the footer and just about everything in between.

Updates will be implemented gradually over the next several months, with a goal of having all phases complete in time for the start of the 2011-12 academic year. The first visible change will be seen this month when we address the area beneath the carousel (known to some as “below the fold”) to build a more dynamic content area that will improve a number of existing features and add two new “Spotlight” sections that will highlight Notre Dame people, places and programs.

Up next will be the large top feature section known as the carousel. We are exploring a number of options for the evolution of this section and are working toward a faster, more efficient and user-friendly visitor experience with a design that incorporates the latest technology for Web content delivery. Our hope is to launch this updated section in January.

We will keep you posted on our progress and, of course, we’d love to hear from you with your feedback or suggestions. We know it’s not our site; it’s Notre Dame’s – and all of yours – and we look forward to partnering with you on this journey.


Julie Flory, Jane Below, Chas Grundy & Don Schindler
OPAC ND.edu Leadership Team