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Q&A with new media director explains upcoming website design refresh

August 12, 2013

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    New Media Director Morgan Grether

Lewis & Clark’s new media team will soon unveil a refreshed and more mobile-friendly design for the lclark.edu website. The Source sat down with New Media Director Morgan Grether for a sneak peek of the improved design and to learn more about the reason for the changes.

Will you walk us through some of the improved features on the website?

The goal of this refreshed design is to improve the experience of the people using our site, particularly prospective students, through a more sensible, streamlined set of top menu items and a cleaner, more lively and legible visual environment. And no matter what device they use, they should get the same wonderful experience.

This summer we have been making many enhancements, the most obvious of which is the refreshed design we are rolling out for the start of the new school year. It is brighter, with most of the green background replaced by white, and an overall improvement in how fonts are displayed. Everything is crisper, cleaner, and more legible. The righthand navigation menus are cleaner with new colors, and the top of the page is much tighter. There are fewer top links, despite adding new audience-based navigation by the search box. 

What is the timeline to rollout the refreshed design?

There are still a lot of little variables, but the plan is to roll out the design by September 3, which is the first day of undergraduate classes.

In what ways will the website be more mobile-friendly?

We’ve rebuilt the entire site into responsive HTML5, meaning you will get a great, legible experience whether you are viewing lclark.edu on your phone, tablet, or desktop computer. On your phone, for instance, you will see the menus are unobtrusive, and the main page content is front and center.

How do you design a website that can evolve over time?

All schools’ websites are evolving all the time, with new content, stories, events, images being added daily. However, on the technical side, if you don’t keep things up to date under the hood, then quickly you can find your audience wanting things you cannot deliver. The mobile-responsiveness I discussed above is one example. Easy host-switching—where we could painlessly shift the site out of Watzek to other servers on the fly in an emergency—is another. But the list goes on, and grows all the time. To this end, we completely rebuilt the entire website—every page, every story, every event—this summer into the latest HTML5 and Javascript to empower us to roll with the Internet’s changes over the next few years.

What kinds of resources does New Media offer to LiveWhale users who are tasked with keeping their department content fresh?

New Media will work with individuals to customize department homepages to fit the needs of their audiences. For hands-on assistance, we will offer Livewhale training sessions throughout the new school year, as well our weekly Dovecote “office hours” every Wednesday from 9 to 11 a.m., beginning August 21.

We can work with you one-on-one to go through your site content and structure, particularly your homepages. We can help you with a range of things, from helping with more concise, focused text to adding exciting slideshows or other kinds of dynamic widgets. Really, you name it. If you can dream it—for example, “I wish we had a box with a random selection of alumni profiles that rotates every 10 seconds”—we can help you implement it on your site. Dare to dream!

 

For more information:

New Media