Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Monday, September 30, 2013

U-M 'gateway' website will get a new look this week

Come Wednesday morning the University of Michigan's front door on the Internet will have a new look that is grounded in powerful photography and graphic presentation, and built on a foundation that automatically adjusts for any type of digital device.

"All of the improvements made to the main U-M website, including design, navigation and functionality, are based on extensive research conducted over the last two years," says Lisa Rudgers, vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives.


This screen shot shows the design of U-M's new online "gateway."

The website will debut with a fresh look that is more sophisticated department store window display than front-door entry. Yet the changes go way beyond window dressing, says Christopher Billick, who led the team that created and built the new website.

"This more visual approach to telling the Michigan story does a much better job of capturing the spirit and the personality of this incredible university community," says Billick, director of digital media at Michigan Creative, the university's in-house creative agency.

With more than half a million unique visitors every month, the U-M "gateway" website is a powerful online draw for prospective students, visitors and community members, Billick says. The new design also uses the refreshed Block M logo and updated brand assets that were unveiled in May.

The website also is built in a responsive format that automatically adjusts for whatever type of digital device is being used to access the website. This eliminates the need for a separate smartphone app.

Among the new features on the website are:

• A large storytelling area that leverages strong photo images and will be updated regularly.

• Search, quick link and navigation menus at the top of the page for easy access.

• Informational graphics to more effectively communicate important messages.

• Prominent display of upcoming campus events.

• A dedicated area for social media interaction.

• A comprehensive photo gallery depicting 24 hours in the life of the university.

• A bottom navigation bar with links to the UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint campus websites and other important university portals.

Questions regarding the website design can be directed to Billick at