The Website Makeover: A Beautiful Bargain

by Courtney Cleveland

features editor looks a lot different these days, largely due to the need to appeal to prospective students potentially applying to Millsaps. Recently, John Sewell, director of communications and marketing, and his web team made several changes to the college’s website. Sewell and his team designed the website with three key principles in mind. They wanted to “design well, write less and illustrate profusely.”

The main goal of the updated website is to attract students to Millsaps.

“Our top priority right now is growing enrollment, and the website for the college is our store window—it’s often the first impression people have of the college and we want to have it as clean, attractive and easily used as possible so we can give prospective students the information they’re looking for,” Sewell said.

Sewell has wanted to make revisions to the website since 2013. “We spent over two years designing and building the site. We did everything in-house and I’m extremely proud of [the] web team here. Our total cost, out of pocket, that we used for vendors to help with the website was less than $7,000… on a project that can easily go into six figures.”

Students have had both positive and negative reactions towards the website. Carley Thaw, a junior psychology major, responds positively to the visuals of the new site

“I think like anything new it’ll just take time to get used to. I haven’t really taken much time exploring everything on it yet, but I think the format is more visually pleasing. It is very easy for those trying to navigate, which is helpful for them,” Thaw said.

Kyra Turner, a freshman business administration and communications double major, likes the new website despite one downfall. “The Millsaps website is generally better than it was, but there should be improvements. The ‘Resources’ tab should be up top, but besides that, it’s great,” Turner said.

Sewell is also thankful for the responses about the website from beyond the college.

“I had a phone call from the President of ACS—Associated Colleges of the South—in Atlanta,” Sewell said. “He called and said, ‘I’ve just come across your site and I’ve been looking at it. It’s absolutely beautiful.’”

Sewell said it was nice to hear positive feedback from someone outside the college in a higher-ed profession.

Sewell recognizes that there are some problems with the website and plans to continually update the website with his team.

“There’s no such thing as a finished product. This website will never be finished—not in my lifetime or anyone else’s, but I’m really proud of the work that was done,” Sewell said. “We’re making changes every day. We’re continuing to make changes and updates and enhancements to the site. There are issues that faculty and students have noted that we are trying to fix. We’re tweaking forms and links every day.”