NU Link Receives 1 Millionth Page Load, Plans More Change

Elise Foley

ASG’s student Web portal NU Link hit 1 million page loads Monday after about four weeks online.

The site, created to replace HereAndNow, went online April 7. Page loads were counted beginning April 9, said NU Link co-creator and former Associated Student Government Communications Director Robby Stein.

“I think it reveals how important a resource NU Link is to the Northwestern community,” said the Medill senior and former DAILY staffer. “It’s only been a month, so I think the numbers speak for themselves.”

The site offers users a “to do” list feature similar to Post-It Notes, and calendars that can be customized according to student interest.

After complaints from several users about the functionality of the calendar feature, an alternate site, NU Link Basic, was created to be a simpler option for students who preferred the look of HereAndNow.

Most recently, Stein said his team of Web designers has worked to reduce page load time for the site.

“Now it basically loads instantaneously,” Stein said. “I think that has definitely increased usage.”

Another recent change is the site’s URL address. NU Link was previously part of ASG’s server, but Stein said some students have had difficulty remembering a lengthy Web address.

The new address, nulink.northwestern.edu, should help students who don’t use the site as their home page remember it more easily, Stein said. Most student Web sites are not given subdomains from Northwestern, so Stein said he was glad NU Information Technology allowed them to have the new address.

“When it’s easy to remember, I think people will log on more,” Stein said. “We’ve also worked with NUIT to expand accessibility through other Web sites.”

Stein said the changes were the result of user feedback and a general commitment to improving the site. Upcoming changes include a group feature that will allow NU Link users to create group events and assign tasks to members’ To-Do lists. The feature will be unveiled Sunday, Stein said.

“We want to continue to make it as easy to use as possible,” Stein said. “There will continue to be other changes to the home site to meet that goal.”