Miami introduces new domain, logo
Published: Monday, August 20, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 23:08
With the beginning of its 203rd fall semester, the Miami image is being revamped with a new domain name and logo.
IT Services and University Communications and Marketing (UCM) teamed up to adopt MiamiOH.edu as the official web domain name, which will replace Miami’s web sites and email addresses, and the beveled “M” will replace the lantern as the official logo for the university.
The former domain and logo are expected to be completely phased out by the end of 2012. MiamiOH.edu email addresses have already been created for faculty and staff members and IT Services is in the process of creating student email addresses.
This conversion comes after years of debate.
According to Cathy McVey, senior director for IT Communications, “muohio” was adopted in the 1980s—before faculty and staff could fathom Internet usage—and it stuck when the first university domain was formed.
“There was a choice made, but nobody really had an idea of what we were doing,” McVey said.
As the Internet became a critical recruitment tool, the university decided to take a second look at that early choice, McVey said.
“It just wasn’t us and it didn’t make sense,” McVey said of the former domain and logo.
Then the UCM conducted internal and external surveys, it became clear that faculty, staff and student respondents favored a change.
According to Deedie Dowdle, associate vice president for UCM, the beveled-M logo was recognized by more than 92 percent of current and potential students who responded in an online survey, including those from out-of-state, while the lantern was identifiable just over 7 percent of the time.
As for the domain, Dowdle said more than 70 percent of respondents ‘strongly agreed’ the domain name needed to change to be more recognizable, to be easier to remember and connect with Miami and more searchable on the web.
“We reached a tipping point to invest in making the change,” McVey said.
IT Services has set the domain up so that the muohio.edu domain name will continue to work as it will automatically redirect visitors to the new domain.
Another facet of the domain change is an issue with a U.S. Department of Commerce policy that only allows universities to hold one domain, according to Dowdle.
The policy states that as of June 1, 2014, only the MiamiOH.edu domain will function, causing any URLs containing muohio.edu to no longer work. Email addresses containing muohio.edu will no longer be able to receive email.
If the muohio.edu domain no longer works, it potentially poses a problem for faculty members who appear in various printed publications with their “muohio” email addresses.
While this causes some worry, Dowdle said she expects it to be a painless transition.
“Search processes have improved so much that anyone typing in a professor’s name and article for a document should have no trouble finding it,” Dowdle said.
However, Dowdle is hoping Miami will avoid the issue because EDUCAUSE, an association that administers websites for the Department of Commerce, is considering a policy change to allow universities to maintain two domain names indefinitely. According to Dowdle and McVey, Miami is advocating strongly for that change. If they allow it, the muohio.edu web address will always redirect to MiamiOH.edu. Despite the difficulty, Dowdle said the conversion is necessary.
“The domain name of MiamiOH.edu is what the research results told us is most known and liked by hugely important web audiences for Miami,” she said.
Junior Caitlin McCoy completed the survey last spring.
“It sounds pretty complicated, but I think it will end up being a very positive thing,” McCoy said. “I think it’s a good change; when you see that ‘M’ you immediately think of Miami.”
According to Dowdle, other independent logos across the university, both academic and athletic, will be phased out and the beveled “M” will step in campus-wide.