Rebooted Website Launches Errors

The all-too-familiar “Error Type 404” page has frustrated many WC website users since the new site’s launch earlier this month. College Relations and White Whale Web Services are working to correct all broken links and other glitches.
By Leland Fiegel
Web Editor

The transition from the old Washington College website to the new Live Whale powered one has not been without its growing pains. Students and faculty alike have been complaining about numerous glitches in the site as it transitions to the new Live Whale content management system.

The new website, built by White Whale Web Services, launched earlier this month. Many of these glitches have to do with broken links and missing page errors, which are being taken care of by the College Relations office.

“College Relations is tracking and fixing 404 errors as quickly as possible, and over the next few weeks we anticipate resolving the majority of broken links,” said WC Web Editor Shane Brill.

Brill went on to say, “Many errors are caused by search engines looking for duplicate URLs that are no longer in use.”

It will take time for popular search engines like Google to update their results to reflect the new web page addresses.

While an automated conversion process was in place to help import some pages to the new Live Whale CMS, manual checks were necessary to make sure all the links pointed to the right place.

White Whale CEO Jason Pontius wanted to stress the importance of reporting such errors to college staff.

“Almost every launch of a redesigned website misses something at first. The old site had thousands and thousands of pages, most of which were reorganized and cleaned up as part of the redesign. It’s pretty normal for occasional broken links and 404s to pop up after a launch; what’s important is that they be reported,” Pontius said.

Head of the Department of Business Management Michael Harvey has found the broken link issue on his department site to be “totally manageable” as reports of broken links come in.

Students have mixed opinions about the redesign.

Freshman Kendall Davis said she was having problems with broken links and accessing Web Advisor. “[The new website] is pretty, I just can’t navigate it well,” she said.

Drew Hobbs, a sophomore, said, “There are so many glitches. I can’t get to any pages that I need to. I’ll search for something specific, and I’ll often get a 404 error result.”

Sophomore Michelle Coleman disagreed.

“I think I’m the only person on campus who likes it,” she said. “The old one was really boring; I think this one is much better aesthetically.”

The College hopes that the majority of these sorts of issues can work themselves out soon.

White Whale web designer Janie Porch said, “Hopefully when a bit of the dust dies down, you’ll see a site that looks more like where you chose to go to school.”

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