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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat gets a makeover

    With a sleek new design and a handful of fresh features, Arizona Athletics’ remodeled Web site is nearly ready to be launched.

    While negotiations with contracting company IMG World have delayed the new Web site from replacing the current model for over a month, UA Web coordinator Mike Lowery said the new site – which will remain – could be up and running as early as Thursday.

    “”We’re just waiting for all the sides to get their contracts signed,”” Lowery said. “”We’ve been about 99 percent ready to go for over a month now.

    “”Hopefully we can get things up and running Thursday but with the way things have been going it’s hard to tell.””

    The holdup comes as a result of IMG’s contractual negotiations with CBS College Sports,’s new hosting site.

    After becoming unhappy with its current host, which Arizona has been with since last football season, IMG chose to make the switch in hopes of correcting the Arizona athletic department’s displeasures.

    “”One of the big drawbacks (from the old company) was that it took a long time to make updates (to the site) on the road,”” Lowery said. “”So we decided to move away from that company.

    “”That’s really the main reason why we’re moving and it just makes for a good time to get a redesign done as well.””

    While the new design for the Web site has a more visually appealing look than the previous version, the designers’ main objective has been to

    improve the mechanical characteristics of the site to ultimately benefit the fans.

    “”We want to give the fans a more up-to-date and current look and maybe a little better access to, and presentation of, information,”” Lowery said. “”We just generally wanted to update things.

    “”We’d done a few updates to (the current site’s) look and feel over the last three or four years, and it was just time to go with a whole new look and direction which might be a bit more current.””

    One of the new features the site will offer, in addition to becoming more accessible for Macintosh computers, is podcasts.

    The podcasts will allow fans to download various press conferences from a wide range of sports, including the bigger sports such as football and men’s basketball, while also including coach’s shows from other smaller sports like gymnastics.

    Also being added will be full RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed support per sport aiding in the publishing of the site’s press releases, which will likely solve many of the issues caused by the Web site’s previous company and allow for quicker availability of live stats and information.

    “”One of the big advantages of going with CBS College Sports is we’ll be their eighth Pac-10 school that’s with them,”” Lowery said. “”If you used their gametracker last year you would have to go to another site to launch it, but this year you’ll be able get those stats right on our Web site regardless of where Arizona is playing.””

    Although the upgraded site will include several new features, many previous features will remain.

    For instance, streaming video and radio feeds will still be available through Comcast All-Access. The only change to the service will be the addition of men’s basketball and football radio feeds into the subscription package while all other radio feeds will remain free of charge.

    While most of the redesign process was focused on pleasing the fans, Lowery said efforts will soon be made to upgrade the pages regularly viewed by incoming recruits and their families. These changes will not be addressed until after the site has officially been launched.

    “”(Recruiting) is an area we’re looking at but we want to get this thing re-launched and then we’ll go in and look at everything that needs to be updated,”” Lowery said. “”We may do a little design on the facilities pages and others that are generally used for recruiting.

    “”But that’ll probably be in the next few weeks before the start of football season.””

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