Website debuts are coming fast and furious this week from Northwestern! On the heels of the groundbreaking Social Media Hub for our football program, TheWildcatWay.com, today we are launching a refreshed and redesigned NUsports.com in conjunction with our web hosts, CBS Interactive.
We recently extended our relationship with the CBS College Sports Network, which provides a website redesign as part of that agreement. Northwestern has had a longstanding relationship with CBS dating to the 1990s; this will be our fifth redesign in the last 10 years. For fun, scroll down to the bottom of this post to see the way NUsports.com has looked over the years courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. My, how we've grown up!
Before we dive into the new NUsports.com, a few words on Northwestern Football's TheWildcatWay.com. This social media network is the first of its kind in college athletics, and already has been lauded by Mashable for its innovative approach to social access. The brainchild of NU Football Director of Operations Cody Cejda, TheWildcatWay.com is meant to bring together all of the social efforts already in place by our forward-thinking football staff. With help from our communications staff, this website has been months in the making and replaces the defunct NUFootballFamily.com website to give fans, recruits and those outside the program the chance to feel what it is like inside the program.
Here is a look at some of the main differences and features of the new NUsports.com launching today:
* First and foremost, we are proud of our new Wildcats All-Access "Video Bar" that appears below the main headlines on the index page and our 19 sport pages. This video bar is a first for a CBS Interactive website, giving category viewing options such as Featured, Sport Specific, Game Highlights and Upcoming Live Events.
* The main navigation bar has been simplified and condensed, with organized categories within each dropdown menu. Specifically, the "Teams" menu now is a one-stop shop for roster, schedule, news, social media and ticket links for all 19 sports and for our general releases, band and WildPride.
* The main headline block features scrolling thumbnails, giving more stories to find and read than just the top five featured at the moment. Also, under the thumbnails, see the most recent Tweets from our main account or the sport account of the team page being viewed
* To the right of our main headlines are six "accordion" tabs or sliders, if you will. Here, find our blog, gameday information, promotions, sign up for our E-Newsletter, check out what the 'Cats are doing in the community and view our This Week in Northwestern upcoming events compilation with one simple click in an easy-to-find, "above the fold" location.
* Our NUsports.com masthead now is "sticky" to the top of the site, meaning it will follow you as far down the page as you go for the added convenience of browsing to a different page without needing to scroll all the way back up.
* Finally, you'll notice our background has changed to include the iconic Chicago skyline image we have been using for years as "Chicago's Big Ten Team." It's good to see the city supporting us in lights!
Please be patient with the new site over the first few days after launch; we will be continuing to search out and destroy bugs while making sure our content is optimized for the new look. We know that when our favorite websites get redesigned, it is frustrating to find information we used to be able to locate in our sleep. Please be patient and enjoy our new and updated look!
On a personal note, this is the third redesign process I have overseen on behalf of Northwestern, and all of us want to thank the folks at CBS Interactive for their diligence, ideas, always-accessible support and responsiveness to our requests. In addition to their professionalism in redesigns, their day-to-day support is unmatched and appreciated by our staff. Good stuff.
Now please enjoy a look at some misty watercolor memories of the way we were...
May 12, 2011
Aug. 7, 2008
Nov. 2, 2005
Nov. 22, 2002
Feb. 24, 2001