New Map, Comet Calendar Offer Greater User Experience, Engagement
Joe Wilson, director of web services for the Office of Communications, said the new map and calendar will help improve user engagement with a more realistic view of campus, wayfinding functionality and social media components. The updates were funded through a partnership with the Office of Communications, facilities management, auxiliary services and the Office of Research.
“What’s really cool is how the map and the calendar work together. We are creating more opportunities for engagement and connections,” Wilson said.
The old versions served their purpose, he said, but were both built in-house and required UT Dallas web services staff to maintain them and continually add updates.
“Our new vendors have specific expertise in higher education, have full support staff and will involve our team any time updates are needed,” Wilson said.
Supported by Concept 3D, the new map provides a 3D view of the campus and a wayfinder option to give directions to various locations. Users on a mobile phone will be able to track a walking path from their current location. The University also will be able to show real-time shutdowns and rerouted traffic patterns due to construction projects.
Robert Tracy, senior web content editor who led the project, said Concept 3D is the gold standard for higher education maps.
“The new map gives a better presentation of UT Dallas. It actually looks like the campus. Any university that has a map like this uses Concept 3D,” Tracy said.
The map will eventually show available spaces in the parking garages and provide a virtual self-guided tour showing campus highlights. Because the map is built on a layer of world maps, users can highlight destinations off campus, such as hotels and restaurants.
The updated calendar was developed by Localist, a vendor used by several other University of Texas institutions. New features include social media components that will improve campus engagement with events. Users can indicate their interest in attending an event, see which events are trending and even crowdsource an event by inviting friends and sharing on social media. All locations listed on the calendar have the ability to link to the campus map.
“At a glance, you can see what’s resonating with students or staff,” Wilson said. “This will be useful to campus departments that wish to pull in events to their webpages.”
Kathryn Hopper, web content editor who led the calendar update project, said users can personalize their experience by saving events they’re interested in and setting up reminders to attend.
“It’s a great feature for students who are juggling multiple projects and deadlines but don’t want to miss that upcoming concert or career workshop,” said Hopper, who is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing at UT Dallas.
Calendar users can search for events by individual departments and groups or by broad topics of interest such as arts and culture.
Hopper said she missed out on some campus events because she wasn’t aware of them.
“I’ll see there’s been an event on campus, and I’ll think, ‘I wish I’d known about that.’ Now I can set up all the events I’m interested in and get to them,” she said.
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].