By Itihaas Singh ’14, Contributing Writer
The College’s Website Redesign Working Group, composed of faculty, students, and staff, held a townhall-style meeting last Tuesday to discuss upcoming changes to F&M’s website. The Group has been working on changing and updating the website since November 2013 with P’unk Ave, a Philadelphia-based web design agency.
At the meeting, the campus community had the opportunity to voice their suggestions and concerns, as well as hear directly from P’unk Ave. According to Srirupa Dasgupta, co-chair of the Working Group, receiving feedback and the input of students and faculty is important to the members of the Group. Therefore, a timeline was created to maintain interactions, such as hosting design testing for users and a final design presentation in mid-February and late-February, respectively, as well as hands-on workshops for people who make and manage content decisions on a day-to-day basis. Academic departments, staff, and students are particularly encouraged to attend, Dasgupta said.
“This won’t be a total migration of the website, but it’ll be a rebuild,” said Julia Ferrante, spokesperson for the College.
Adding on to that, Dasgupta said, “We’ll be reassessing and looking at everything and we are going to be intentional about what content we want to have on the new website and whether it is relevant to the people we are trying to connect with.”
According to Dasgupta, the new website redesign should materialize by Fall 2014.
The process utilized by the Working Group is to identify what information and content is relevant to the campus community, what is relevant to the outside world, seeing where they intersect, and developing an online infrastructure that can best serve both parties. One possible idea is to develop a log-in component on the main website so that students and staff do not need to deal with information that is irrelevant to them.
The redesign project also involves integrating the website with social media networks and using multimedia, such as videos and interactive applications to better communicate with visitors to the site. Popular social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, will be better connected to the website, which will also feature a feed from these networks. In addition, as time demands, the website will be completely mobile-enabled and the same version will serve both mobile and desktop platforms.
“So if we are a supportive community, how do we show that instead of writing and saying we are a supportive community?” Dasgupta said. “We will employ different ways to show it through images, videos and stories.”
Everything ranging from the meaning of a liberal arts structure, the academic intensity of the College, and daily life will rely on multimedia storytelling rather than a text-heavy website, according to Dasgupta.
“We aim to show more than tell,” she said
The College has experience working with P’unk Ave, who designed F&M’s content management system; therefore, both partners have done research to develop a new way to showcase the College’s strengths.
“The overarching thing is that the website is a critical communication tool for the College, so we want to keep up with trends and new technology and capacities,” Dasgupta said.
Junior Itihaas Singh is a contributing writer. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.