ITS Digital Services has created and is piloting a new WordPress theme modeled after the redesigned unc.edu website. The UNC Modular Theme is for official University departments.
The redesigned unc.edu website launched in February 2018. Representatives with several University departments have expressed interest in redesigning their own sites in the style of unc.edu.
To make the design of unc.edu available, Digital Services started creating a new theme for WordPress, the content management system for many of the University’s sites, in November 2018.
Academic departments pilot theme
The UNC Modular Theme launched on the websites of Kenan-Flagler’s Center for Real Estate Studies in late January and UNC News in early February. The School of Dentistry is also looking into relaunching its entire site using the theme. Digital Services approached the initial rollout as a “piloting phase” and is continually iterating on the theme’s design and functionality.
“We’ve been tweaking the theme as people use it and come to us with feedback,” said Kim Vassiliadis, Manager of ITS Digital Services and User Experience.
Designing for users’ needs
The UNC Modular Theme gets its name from its modular-based design, meaning that web pages are organized by modules of information using a prescribed formation. The unc.edu website was created to support the storytelling nature of the new unc.edu. That design is not necessarily optimal for departmental sites, which are more informative in nature. Digital Services further customized the theme to accommodate these groups.
“We’ve taken informational modules from unc.edu that had a broader context and built those into the new theme,” Vassiliadis said. “The theme doesn’t have all the options of unc.edu, but it is geared more for informational sites.”
As the theme is so prescriptive, Vassiliadis and her team do not plan to make the theme available to any individuals on campus beyond official departments.