Dear SMC community members,
Over the past several months, the Website Redesign Committee has been working with our partner, White Whale, to address the feedback provided by the community on the website concept we shared with the campus this fall. We are happy to provide an update on the work of improving and enhancing our institutional website.
White Whale has delivered the newest version of the homepage design, with a slideshow that demonstrates how website visitors might interact with the page.
Important: the blurry photo of the chapel is not something we're required to use. The images in the large center circle are not part of the design, they're merely suggestions for what could be used in that area. Also, the slideshow has approximately a dozen images - you can click anywhere on the slidesow to advance to the next image.
The Website Redesign Committee believes the design modifications included in this version effectively respond to feedback of the SMC community, as follows:
- The color scheme should be less kaleidoscopic and more in tune with the College's official colors.
Saint Mary's blue and red are now the dominant colors in the design, the overall number of colors is much lower and the colors selected are more muted.
- The circles are busy, distracting and cluttered.
The center circle has been made bigger and more prominent. There are fewer background circles and they are much lower in brightness and contrast.
- The homepage needs to hold more content.
The new version shows how website visitors can click through to see as many as 8 different "buckets" of stories - the homepage can potentially contain over a hundred separate stories, which can be easily updated, re-organized or changed.
- The beauty of the campus needs to be prominently featured, and with more than a single photo.
One of the "buckets" of content will hold a slideshow of campus photos, and can potentially be the first bucket of content website visitors see, if it's appropriate for the College's homepage needs. Campus photos can also potentially be included in every bucket of content.
- The design needs to be seen and tested by prospective students.
The design has been reviewed by informal focus groups of prospective students, and their response has been enthusiastic. More systematic feedback will be solicited during usability testing of the homepage.
As a reminder, the goal of the Saint Mary’s College website project is to develop a distinctive design that authentically represents SMC. The new site will provide an easy-to-use information architecture, reflect the physical beauty of the campus and provides a means for compellingly showing (instead of only asserting) our academic excellence, Lasallian/Catholic character, and commitment to social justice, inclusive excellence and global reach.
We believe the revised home page design achieves these objectives in several ways. By breaking the rectilinear column style that dominates almost all college homepages, the circles boldly announce SMC’s distinctiveness. The circle design provides a way to easily tell multiple stories, and is conceptually rooted in the College's intellectual tradition (seminar, small classes, inquiry and dialogue), spiritual tradition (the image of a rose window) and commitment to inclusive community (the globe, overlapping circles of different color). The prominent placement of the College logo, use of SMC colors and large campus photo in the center connect the circles to our visual identity. Cleaner navigation at the top and bottom, an improved search function and a dropdown menu for Academics will make it easy to find desired information.
We ask that you share your thoughts and opinions about this design by Wednesday, February 16, either by commenting on this blog post or emailing Web Editor Mike Jung. Thanks very much.