The Students’ Union website has received 25,000 hits since its launch – 20,000 of those within the last month. The site is still a work in progess according to Students’ Union Campaigns and Communications Officer, Pat de Brún, but will hopefully be a “useful and good” website by Christmas.
Last year’s administration, overseen by current USI President Gary Redmond, made the decision to reconstruct the website, which de Brún said “wasn’t very usable, quite blank and it didn’t really appeal to students” though admitted to not knowing the exact reason why a decision was made to change the site completely.
However, de Brún did say of the website development: “It’s certainly not exactly where we want it to be, but it is progress and there are only so many hours in a day.”
De Brún did not deny the necessity for a new website: “I absolutely agreed with the new website because I think that it did need a facelift. I think it wasn’t very usable, quite blank and it didn’t really appeal to students.”
The MySU feature was introduced last year, but has only begun to be implemented since the introduction of the loyalty card scheme. Students can sign in and check how much points they have earned from their transactions in SU shops. It also allows users to advertise their services for the Grindsfile and sell their books to the secondhand bookshop.
De Brún believes that the success of the website is mostly due to the emphasis put on it by social media such Facebook and Twitter. The website’s traffic has been tracked, with “great success” being recorded in the last month.
While de Brún feels that the website is easy to navigate, students have found that it can become easy to get lost in with no obvious home button. Arts student, Maedbh O’Brien, found the website “tricky to use”, finding herself in the wrong section after misusing the tabs. Other students have found the website very comprehensive and a “central place for finding information”.
However, de Brún admits that the calendar “is one area that we are looking at vastly improving”. The website offers people information about UCD, the Students’ Union and Students’ Union campaigns. De Brún stated that “a big emphasis on always having current news about the SU and stuff that’s going on around the college so people can log on and find out” was made with the new site.
Much of the information in the SU student diary on health, sexual awareness and how to manage exam stress can also be found on the site.