New CACREP Website Launched!
On October 3, CACREP launched a new design for the website – the first in 10 years! With this update a lot of things have changed and some folks might not feel comfortable right away. We want to take a bit of time to run through a lot of the upgrades we see with this new design, and the new way we are presenting the content for all of our constituents. With the merger with CORE, we have a renewed focus on making the site more disability friendly.
First, the new design provides visuals that work across most devices whether you are on your iphone or android phone, a tablet, a laptop or a desktop. The navigation and content adjusts to best meet the needs of users on all of these devices.
Second, we wanted to simply the way information was presented on the website. Previously some content was many clicks deep. Now, you will find a lot of information is within the top level pages and can be easily reached using the blue side bar items on each of those pages.
Third, we spent a lot of time considering how we could add additional clarity to what information is presented in the directory. This is perhaps where you will see the most changes on the website. When you first go to Find a Program (always easily accessible from the blue tab connected to the bottom right side of the navigation bar) you will be given three options to direct your search.
Each one helps to quickly narrow down what you will see, but you will be able to further refine your search using the “Filters” button at the top right corner of the results page.
We have also added an option under filters that allows you to download a spreadsheet with the results of your search so you can use it to review programs that might be of interest to you. We wanted to make this new directory overview page as clear as possible for all of our users including adding in the city for the location of each specialty and a new way to display the accreditation dates and accreditation status. We’ve enhanced the status reporting by adding features to allow us to better display when an accredited institution has submitted an application for re-accreditation.
If you don’t see all the info you need on the main results page, we’ve also made quite a few updates to the information we display on the “Program Description” page.
Updates to this page include an easy way to see the location of the institution on Google Maps, a quick way to reach the Program Contact via email, and which set of standards a program is accredited under. We still have the other information we had previously displayed, but in a larger and easier to read format.
Fourth, you might notice at the top of the website that we have a flash notice banner where we can provide important information to some of our users. Right now, it focuses on an upcoming report that is due, but in the future it might reference any number of topical things. When you’ve read it, you can close it by clicking on the X.
Finally, you might have noticed our new chatbot. It has limited abilities right now, but it will continue to grow in its ability to answer simple questions as time goes on. It may say some quirky things at times, but we hope that it is a nice addition to the other new features on the website.
As I indicated above, all of these updates and changes were also made with accessibility in mind. We applied the latest Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) standards to our design to help folks better navigate and interact with our content.
We hope that these updates and additions will be just the start to making our website a more user friendly and informative place to learn about CACREP and CACREP accredited programs.