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UCSF to Launch Redesign of Flagship Website

Redesign Coincides with 20th Anniversary of UCSF.edu

A black-and-white screenshot of UCSF.edu that appeared in the Synapse student newspaper in July 1996. See all the UCSF.edu homepages through the years in the gallery below.

Remember back when accessing the World Wide Web meant logging into AOL and the screeching staccato dial of a modem calling over the phone line? Remember when Netscape was everyone’s main portal to the web? 

Around this time 20 years ago, in the fall of 1995, UCSF.edu launched into this brave new world. Introducing it to the campus community some months later, the student newspaper Synapse oriented its readers by describing a website as “blocks of text and pictures, some with sound and a few with video.”

UCSF.edu has grown quite a bit since its pioneering entry to the World Wide Web, constantly evolving to meet the needs of its many diverse visitors. On June 15, it will be getting another big facelift.

A preview of the new UCSF.edu homepage, launching on June 15, that includes browsable tabs with content customized for UCSF's main audiences.

Time to Upgrade Internet Explorer

Microsoft has announced that end-of-life support for Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) will occur on Jan. 12, 2016. As such, the new UCSF.edu will not be optimized for IE8.

UCSF IT has been developing guidance for upgrading to the latest browser version, so if you haven't done so already, please download Internet Explorer 11 now or view the website on Firefox, Safari or Chrome.

A Digital Front Door for UCSF

The latest redesign of UCSF.edu responds to the needs of the University’s growing audience, reflecting its truly global impact on health. The website currently welcomes nearly 3 million unique visitors each year.

“UCSF.edu is reaching a growing global audience interested in learning about our research discoveries, our cutting-edge patient care and our educational programs,” said Barbara J. French, vice chancellor for Strategic Communications and University Relations, which spearheaded the redesign project in partnership with UCSF Information Technology. "Our main website has to be our ‘front door’ that clearly tells the UCSF story and helps visitors find what they need quickly and efficiently."

Some key features of the new website include:

  • A more customized homepage experience, with content tailored for key UCSF audiences.
  • Cleaner navigation that reduces the number of page clicks to find what you need.
  • Two newly designed hubs for UCSF news content: the UCSF News Center for external-facing press releases and web stories, and Pulse of UCSF for internal-facing stories shared by the campus community.
  • Improved opportunities to share and subscribe to UCSF news.

Always a Work in Progress

The yearlong redesign project involved user surveys, dozens of user interviews, and an extensive analysis of web traffic patterns and industry best practices. The project, however, won’t end with the June 15 launch.

“A key part of UCSF’s digital strategy is constant evolution and experimentation,” French said. “Just as our research, clinical and educational programs are constantly pushing the boundaries, we need to be innovative in how we communicate this great work to the world.”

After the redesigned website launches, there will be opportunities to share your feedback on UCSF.edu. Suggestions will be incorporated into ongoing improvements to the site.

As the Synapse article 20 years ago put it: “It’s worth bearing in mind the saying that ‘a web page is never finished.’ The technology is moving at blistering speed, and who knows, this time next year the world wide web may be history!”

Well, they got it mostly right!

For more internal-facing stories from the UCSF community, please visit Pulse of UCSF.

Jump into the Wayback Machine and check out all the UCSF.edu homepages over the past 20 years:
(click on the thumbnails to view the full screenshot)

screenshot of UCSF.edu 1997 homepage
July 1997
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 1998
May 1998
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2004
August 2004
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2006
July 2006
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2008
July 2008
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2011
April 2011
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2014
March 2014
screenshot of UCSF.edu homepage in 2014
October 2014