Friday, December 07, 2007
Thanks to everyone who has asked questions, offered advice or made suggestions about the Calvin.Edu project. This is a community effort, and your ongoing input is essential.
Some have asked for an overview of this project and its three major phases, so here goes:
The First Phase: Realign calvin.edu
We plan to take a hard look at the organization of Calvin’s Web site in order to improve the experience we provide for our diverse audiences. We want to make sure calvin.edu accurately reflects Calvin College and is a reliable and easily accessible source of information.
In order to make informed decisions, we first need to step back. We will talk to our many audiences (students, faculty and staff, prospective students and their families, alumni and friends), reflect on how to effectively communicate this unique place, leverage the good work done by our colleagues throughout the college and listen to contributors to the college Web site. We will evaluate what we should do, what we do well now and what has room for improvement.
The visible outcomes of phase one may be seen as early as summer or fall of 2008. These could include rearranged site organization (i.e. site locations/URLs), improved search, and updated site navigation, graphical design and content. Our initial focus is on the highest volume, top-level areas of the college Web site. We’re not exactly sure what will change because we haven’t done the research yet.
We are currently seeking an expert consulting partner to help with the assessment and user experience changes. Depending on research results, our partner’s expertise, and project budgets, we may work with this partner on the graphical design portion of this phase, but it’s not in the scope of the Request For Proposal.
The Second Phase: Content Management
In the second phase of this project, expected to start in mid-to-late 2008, we will implement both procedures and technologies (i.e. a Content Management System) to help scale and sustain the successes from phase one.
The Third Phase: Continuous Improvement
Calvin’s Web site is a large, cooperative and dynamic source of information. To ensure ongoing success, a culture of continuous improvement, measurement and development is required. This phase will address these challenges.
How will this affect you?
As a user of the Calvin Web site, this project is expected to improve your experience. We expect the research conducted in phase one will help us understand how that experience can be made better. Initially, we expect changes will be limited to top-level content maintained by the office of communications and marketing (i.e. the home page, resource pages, about pages, majors and minors, search, calendars, etc.). Ongoing, new technologies and designs will be available to other departmental sites to implement so you can focus in your area of expertise. This project also is intended to assist those who author content on Calvin’s Web site, including those responsible for department pages. We want to find ways to help content move more easily among our many pages. For example, so that a news release on a biology student could be syndicated to the biology department page and appear there automatically without someone in biology having to add it manually.
Matt Jeltema, Calvin Information Technology