Revamped student website launches
In line with the New Year's theme of 'in with the new,' OptometryStudents.com—the No. 1 resource for optometry students from the AOA—just got a fresh, new look.
In addition to articles on topics ranging from finance to residencies, the site also prepares students to advocate for the profession.
The website's philosophy is expressed in a simple equation: Better students = better ODs = a better optometric profession.
Created by students, with students in mind, the resource helps optometry students traverse through their academic journey, and offers assistance to those interested in pursuing a career in optometry.
In addition to articles on topics ranging from finance and business to residencies, the OptometryStudents.com team also prepares students to advocate for the profession at both the state and federal level. OptometryStudents.com is "a student-led website, which is pretty special," says Ben Emer, a fourth-year optometry student at the Illinois College of Optometry and the current managing editor of OptometryStudents.com.
New design, new benefits
The redesigned website officially launched in January 2016. The main goals of the redesign were to make the site more user-friendly by streamlining site navigation and to enhance student interaction. While the site's main audience is current optometric students, the key resource includes content for pre-optometry students and optometric faculty looking for insights on what students want and need to learn.
"The site is better organized now, and articles are better featured," says Emer. "You can really see what we have to offer, everything from clinical pearls to legislative news—the wide variety of content that we pride ourselves on providing."
New features include:
- An improved mobile interface
- An interactive map that allows students to access articles that specifically relate to their school
- The new "Get Involved" tab is now part of the site's top-line navigation, and its content will be continually refreshed. Here, students can submit an application to join the OptometryStudents.com core team, post an interesting optometric clinical case, recognize a peer, and learn about the benefits AOA student membership offers and how to maintain membership after graduation.
Emer is looking to add more interaction points to the site as the year progresses. "We are going to start developing quizzes in which you can read the article and submit answers to a clinical case, and win a prize," he says.
The evolution of OptometryStudents.com
Emer has been writing and working for the site since he was a first-year student and has witnessed an exciting evolution over his four years of involvement.
"As a first-year we had maybe five writers, and over the years we've gone from 15 to 20 writers on the team," he says.
The diverse perspectives of students from different schools in various stages of their academic careers ensures the website offers something for everyone.
Peter Jacques, a first-year optometry student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and OptometryStudents.com senior editor, will become the site's managing editor later this year when Emer graduates. Jacques says he is excited about how the redesign turned out.
"With the AOA's resources, the student writers have been able to bring new and exciting content so that all students can benefit more from the website."