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TuftsLife launches new website design, internship

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 02:02


Zhuangchen Zhou / The Tufts Daily

  TuftsLife is set to launch a new site design on March 1 to better meet the needs of students, according to TuftsLife Chief Executive Officer Taylor Lentz. Both the aesthetics and organization of the site will be improved in the new website, according to Chief Operating Officer Juan Carlos Montemayor Elousa.

 “We get emails and complaints about features that exist but are hard to find or aren’t functional in the right way,” Lentz, a junior, said. “We really wanted to change things to optimize the experience for the users.”

 The renewed site will remove underutilized resources, Elosua, a senior, said. “We got rid of everything that wasn’t really used. There were a lot of links that weren’t clicked. Now it fits to your window so everything you see is very relevant information.”

 The new TuftsLife site uses a design model called Responsive Design that optimizes site layout depending on screen size, such as for mobile devices, according to a Feb. 4 blog post on the TuftsLife website.

 Lentz and Elosua have been working together on the site for a year, according to Lentz. The release date was planned so that incoming freshmen can become accustomed to using the site before getting to campus, Lentz said.

 One feature of the new TuftsLife website will be a section dedicated to useful web applications called TuftsLife Apps, Elosua said.

 “We had a lot of tools on TuftsLife that are hidden by the current implementation,” he said. “So we created a new app section which contains web applications and links that are helpful for Tufts students.”

 Creating the web applications involved a major re-organization of the site, according to Elosua.

 “We made a list of everything that the site had and made new containers for where to put those items,” Elosua said. “We reduced a site that previously had one or two pages of content to have four or five divisions that made more sense.”

 Web applications currently exist on the TuftsLife website, but they are difficult to find and use, Elosua said. For example, the current site contains a book-swap application, which Elosua admitted he had not even known existed until he starting working on the site. The current website also has a JoeyTracker device and a Ride Board application.

 The new website will make it easier to find needed information, Lentz said.“Right now, there could be a hundred announcements posted for one day, and they’d never get seen,” she said. “We’ve streamlined that process so it’s easier to look for the specific information you want.”

 The new web applications will be created by both TuftsLife and Tufts students, Lentz said.

 “When any Tufts students who want to create content or feel passionate about something that should exist for Tufts, it’ll be there,” she said.

 Lentz noted that a Tufts graduate student wanted to make an app that would more effectively connect her to undergraduates interested in getting involved with her research.

 TuftsLife will also be starting a new internship program to boost student involvement in the website, Montemayor Elosua said. The internship would offer both developer and user-interface design positions. The interns, according to Elosua, would work on creating student-requested projects.

“We have pages of requests from students about things that could fit into the app section and they would love us to have, but we don’t have the resources … to build these free tools for Tufts,” Lentz said.

Despite many new improvements and aspects to the TuftsLife site, Montemayor Elosua and Lentz declined to comment in more detail on other aspects of the new website.”We do want to keep things secret so that people have something to look forward to,” Elosua said. 

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