UVA website is for kids

Last month, UVA launched a new home-page, its first website redesign since 2004. The site includes one feature uncommon to university websites: an “Especially For Kids” page aimed at the more diminutive Cavalier.

“Want to learn more about UVA?!!” it implores. Try the “UVA Lingo” word scramble and find phrases like “Grounds,” “The Corner” and “Rugby Road.” You won’t find terms like “two-tier employment system” however.

The site also features UVA history for kids, where one can learn about Edgar Allen Poe, sans drinking problem, or read an awkward paragraph about the legacy of blacks and women. “In the days of Thomas Jefferson, no one thought that black people would want to attend a university. No one thought women would want to go to a university, either.”

Creepiness aside, the page offers lots of bright colors and moving parts sure to entertain the pre-middle school set. It also provides links to myriad programs geared toward kids.

Nancy Tramontin, UVA’s director of webmaster services, says the page was developed in response to lots of e-mails from kids looking for information for papers about UVA or Thomas Jefferson. UVA is one of the first schools to offer a site for kids.

UVA’s homepage gets between 500,000 and 600,000 hits per day. The new kids’ site will no doubt offer a lot of exposure to prospective college searchers, too, as it’s never too early to start saying “First Year” instead of “freshman.”

Tramontin says appealing to young potential applicants wasn’t part of the plan, but “that would be lovely, if [students] thought, ‘I remember UVA, I did a word sort from there once.’”

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