Tech acknowledges Web site problems

Matthew Gann, Web and digital media director, is working to alleviate the issues users are having with the new Tech Web site.He encourages students, faculty, staff and others to contact him with suggestions for improvements. He has already used many of the submitted comments and complaints in correcting problems with the site.

“If I’m not made aware of an issue or suggestion for an improvement, then there’s not a way I can act on it,” Gann said.

When several users of the site saw that the drop down menus along the top fail to appear, they e-mailed Gann via the feedback form.

He was able to discover the problem and fixed it through their help.

There have also been entire pages missing on the new site. Some of these were linked to official units of the University, while others were linked to individual organizations.

The Web and digital media director’s job is to maintain those pages linked only to official units of the University, like the College of Arts and Sciences. Individual student organizations’ sites are managed by Student Activities.

Several users have also criticized the new people and site searches for returning empty results, a problem the new search system was supposed to fix.

Gann explained that the missing information in the people search often occurs because someone has signed a form preventing the release of their contact information.

People who have signed this form in error should contact the Records Office.

He also said it would have taken too long to bring every committee and council site over to the new design, so those missing will be added after updating their most recent meeting and minute information.

Gann does expect the new search engine to improve over time, though, because it uses search relevance-based on page content and traffic-when returning results.

Despite several issues with Tech’s new site organization and design, Gann remains optimistic.

“My first mandate is to attract students,” Gann said. “My second is to support current students, faculty and staff here by making it easier for them to find the information they need. I think we have accomplished this with the new site design.”

He has also received positive feedback about the new Web site.

“I must admit that being a software engineer for years and now working for a firm that designs Web sites, I had second thoughts on sending my son to school at Tech,” said Stephany Beane, mother of a Tech freshman. “After seeing the Tenn Tech Web site, I am breathing a sigh of relief. What a welcome change. Keep up the good work.”

Gann works closely with Information Technology Services to keep the site running smoothly. ITS maintains an up-to-date server system and hardware, while Gann manages the content system and design aspects.

For more information about the site, or to submit your own comments or concerns, visit http://www.tntech.edu/web/aboutsite.

To contact the Records Office, visit http://www.tntech.edu/records.