A new look for Concourse Online
Today, the final preparations were made to launch the new version of Concourse Online and open access to Keele University students, as well as the general public. We’ve made some significant changes to the previous version of the website ( in fact, we’ve scrapped it altogether ) and added lots of new features that we’re very excited about to enhance the look and feel, user experience and accessibility and sense of community behind the web site. All of these changes have been driven by feedback that we’ve collected from students about the old web site and ultimately given form by the vision of the Chief Editor, Victoria Taylor, and the enthusiasm and dedication her 2012/13 committee officers. We hope that you’re pleased with the new web site, but we’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for any further improvements, minor changes or even new functionality that you’d like to see. Feel free to comment on this article, or contact us here with your thoughts.
We’d love to hear what you think of the new web site and logo
So, without any further ado; Let’s talk about the changes we’ve made to Concourse Online!
Firstly, you might have noticed from social media, the print edition (# 9 ) we’ve been forcing on everyone around campus and the web site itself that Concourse has adopted a new logo! The new logo was part of the process of modernising concourse and making it a publication that Keele students would be proud to put their names on, place in their portfolios and CV’s and show off to friends, family and future employers. The design brief called for something clean, professional and modern, but with a hint of Keele, distinctive and recognisable. We wanted something that achieved all of this and was well suited to social media, the web and our print magazine. What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Secondly, you might have also noticed that the new website looks and feels absolutely nothing like the old one. That was exactly what we wanted and we hope you’re happy with the direction we’ve decided to take. The old web site was a simple ‘Blogger’ theme that we had very limited control over. This made it difficult for us to offer the functionality, services and content that we felt Concourse Online needed to make it stand out as an exceptional student newspaper, on a national level. We made the decision to host our own web site privately, which gave us total control over and complete flexibility of design, content and functionality. We decided to use WordPress to power the site and write our own WordPress ‘theme‘ in-house. This saved anything from dozens to thousands of pounds ( based on the options available at the time ), which we have been able to dedicate to the print magazine. It did, however, require a significant contribution from technically skilled members of the committee and a sizeable creative and functional input from the rest of the team. We hope that you appreciate the effort we’ve gone to, to improve your student magazine.
Lastly, we’d like to run through all of the new features available to users and the new content and structure of the site.
- Everyone can register! Once registered you can follow your favourite topics, authors and more and keep up to date with all of our news. You don’t have to be registered or signed in to read and comment, but if you want more of a presence here on Concourse Online then you’re welcome to it. The site can do more for you than ever before.
- Our news is now organised into clear and well-defined categories for you to find exactly the content that you’re looking for, with our Featured news highlighting important topics, the News Feed offering all the latest stories as they’re published and categories such as Entertainment, Sports or Lifestyle making it easy for you to pick the stories you want to read the most. With our new search form and site structure it’s now much easier to find everything.
- Better social media integration – Our Twitter feed has been improved and upgraded to give us more control and flexibility over what shows up and when and it’s now easier than ever before to find our network sites, be that Facebook, Dropbox or Pinterest ( Not that have all of those just yet ). You can even use your Facebook or Twitter accounts to comment on articles we’ve posted and more easily share them on your networks than ever before
- Concourse Online is now a place for writers to submit their content. No more confusion over how to get involved, simply sign up, apply to become a contributor, write your article and submit it! We’ll review your article, make any edits that we might need to, provide you with real formative, constructive feedback and then we’ll publish it – either here or in the print magazine! ( Or both, if you’re lucky! ). We’ll be making it easier than ever to see how to get involved with online guides with tips on writing for Concourse because the more that Keele students get involved, the better the magazine is for everyone. It’s your magazine, and we want to include you!
- From now on we’ll be using all of our own email addresses registered at the domain @concourseonline.com – No more reliance on third party services to contact us. This improves our professional image as a Student Led Service when communicating with Keele Students’ Union, the university, students and external entities and individuals. It also makes it easier to find and contact us with all of our emails at one domain you won’t have to remember firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or even firstname.lastname@example.org!
- The Gallery page will provide several different galleries that we can create, remove, modify and add to as time goes by. Clicking on an image there will launch a full-screen immersive browsing experience that’s supported on touch-screen devices and offers much higher quality images that the old format. Here you can see detailed information about each picture, and for you camera & photography enthusiasts ( where there’s data ) you can even see information on the device and settings that captured the image! What’s more, everyone can comment on, discuss and share our images.
- Concourse will now be offering an email newsletter free to subscribers. We can bring you the latest and most interesting Keele news, entertainments events, student deals and more – straight to your inbox. Our first edition will be going out over the coming weeks and then we’re aiming to publish a weekly email newsletter. What are you waiting for? Sign up – it’s free!
We also have some planned additions to the web site that we’ll be releasing over the next few days. These include, but are not limited to:
- Listen to KUBE radio whilst you read Concourse Online! We’ll be streaming KUBE radio live on our web site for our readers to tune in, if they so desire, and be fully immersed in the Keele student experience.
- Review section – Be it local restaurants, takeaways or bars, halls of accommodation, Students’ Union events, games consoles or games, even clothes – We’ll be reviewing it without bias and from a student perspective. Concourse online will be featuring a review section, conveniently organised by category, from Entertainments to Electricals, and Books to Byriani.
- On-line advertising. Okay so you’re not hugely excited about this, right? Well, think again! We’re only interested in adverts from companies that offer real value to Keele students, because we are Keele students. Not only might you see a couple of unobtrusive discount vouchers on the web site, but you might save some money and get something out of it! Just as importantly, we’ll be re-investing all of our revenues back into Concourse to deliver the best possible product to you.
That’s all from us for now. Watch this space, keep coming back to the new site or even subscribe and follow our latest news stories as they happen. In the meantime, tell your friends – and if you’d like to get involved you can contact us here to find out more – we’d love to hear from you!
The Concourse team