9 October 2018
The new design for the UCCS website is an eyesore of tradition, print design and ideas misapplied to a digital landscape and out of context elements that fail to deliver on the philosophy behind them.
A core design principle is the use of negative space. In traditional print formats, this means using empty areas of the page to control eye movement and bring attention to aspects of the page. Print media often calls this “white space,” and that misnomer often causes designers to take it literally, like the designer for the UCCS website did.
The overly bright design ignores trends within recent digital development to use darker colors for negative space because darker colors are less harsh to look at on an illuminated screen.
The stock photography usage on the website is also done inexpertly. For the section that describes student activities, there’s a stock photo of a lone individual walking to the camera, carrying a snowboard and dressed as if they are about to hit the slopes, despite campus being hours away from the nearest ski resorts.
The described activities do not even include snowboarding on the page, but the designer who developed the website and the people who approved it preferred to play into out-of-state stereotypes of Colorado life that are inaccurate and annoying.
The website redesign also buried functional features that students and staff use behind nested menus. Nested menus reduce the usability of websites, showing that the design wants to sell UCCS instead of making it useful for students and staff who use the website on a daily basis.
If the website was designed to actually be used instead of being a false front that inaccurately represents UCCS, then I would not have been bothered, but the combination of sales over function with outdated and misapplied design principles just shows that UCCS wasted money on the design.