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Sunday, August 31, 2014

WCC Website Wins National Award

WCC’s website has won a major award in a national contest for college and university websites.

The site won Best Home Page honors in the 2nd Annual eduStyle Higher-Ed Web Awards. They’re sponsored by eduStyle, a website for web design professionals in higher education. The awards were announced July 21 at the eduWEB Conference in Chicago.

“All of us here at Washtenaw Community College are extremely proud of the work of our web team headed by Christopher Billick,” said WCC President Larry Whitworth. “This team has put incredible time and effort into creating a website from the ground up, essentially leaving the old bloated site behind. In our collegiate environment this took great courage, persistence, and hard work to achieve.”

“I’m very proud of everyone in Web Services,” said Amin Ladha, WCC’s chief information officer. “Our website has a unique personality—a warm, welcoming feel that perfectly reflects WCC. It represents a combination of top technical skills with outstanding creativity, and it emphasizes usability.”

“The award belongs to everyone on the Web Services team,” said Christopher Billick, director of the department. “I am fortunate to work with such talented professionals who are so dedicated to their craft. It is gratifying to be recognized by our peers.”

The eduStyle competition received more than 2,000 nominations. WCC’s website was a finalist in two categories: Best Home Page and Best Overall Web Site. The other finalists for Best Home Page were the University of Virginia and Oklahoma Wesleyan University. American University won Best Overall Web Site, and The College of William and Mary was the other finalist.

Several Web Services employees are WCC graduates or are taking classes at the College. Lead designer Traci Williams is a graduate of the Internet professional program, multimedia developer Mike Wilkinson earned a certificate in graphic design and is pursuing an associates degree, web analyst Deborah Edwards-Onoro has taken numerous Internet professional and computer science classes, and designer Melissa Dettloff is taking photography classes. Other members of the Web Services team include lead programmer Patrick Springstubbe, programmers Sarah Rick and James Turner, and writer Bruce Maxwell.

After it was named a finalist for the two eduStyle awards, WCC’s website attracted international attention, primarily on websites and blogs about best design practices. It was featured on the website of Cameron Moll, an industry leader, author, and speaker. Moll wrote: “An unusually fresh design. Unusual because you don’t often see stuff this good—aesthetics, identity—from the collegiate web folk….”

WCC’s website also made a list of “25 of the Best Websites for Educational Institutions” at Vandelay Design’s site and was showcased on Web Crème, a well known web design inspiration site. It has been reviewed by EDU Checkup and has been featured in design galleries at CSS Beauty,  BestWebGallery, siteInspire, cssWOW, CSS Drive, and on websites in Spain, France, and Poland, among others.

“Sites like Web Crème and CSS Beauty are online galleries that index some of the web’s most beautiful and well-coded websites,” said Williams, the lead designer for WCC’s site. “Inclusion in these galleries and compliments from industry experts like Moll indicate the greater design community applauds our work, and that is extremely flattering and rewarding for the entire team.”

The first phase of WCC’s redesigned website launched Feb. 26. Eventually, the entire site will be overhauled.

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