Communications sends out a new survey on redesigning the College website: Further revisions will be made to the designs based on the results of this survey

Posted by Julia Leef

On March 5, the redesign committee, comprised of members of Communications, the Student Government Association, and non-member students, discussed three new designs for the Skidmore website that had been developed based off of feedback obtained from students and faculty. The committee will show these designs to students through a survey on Sunday, March 18, in which they may provide further comments regarding their preferences.

Among the major changes from the previous designs, the committee cut down the amount of text, simplifying the overall design. The main feature of the home page will be a large slideshow of photos displaying creative endeavors by students and faculty, and is featured in all three designs.

"We are interested in how to make this as easy as possible for students to navigate," Executive Director of Communications Dan Forbush said. "We would always want to be telling somebody's creative story. There would always be a creative aspect to the featured photo."

The main differences among the designs, which can be founded in the survey, include the navigation menus, the color schemes, and the layouts. Designs A and B have the navigation bar, which will host quick links to popular sections of the website, possibly including Blackboard, the Master Schedule, and the Skidmore Shop, located at the top of the screen. The navigation menu for Design C, on the other hand, is on the left-hand side of the screen.

The main color for Design A is the traditional Skidmore green, while Design B has an all-white background, which members of the committee, including Keith Kallas '12, head of the student-run Photo Club, and Raiza Nazareth '12, Vice President of the SGA, said they did not find as warm and inviting as the other designs. Design C also uses green as its main color, but includes a lighter shade for the text color as well.

Members of the committee overall preferred the color scheme of Design A, but liked the simplicity and layout of Design B, which hosts a much cleaner format than the other two designs. Students will have a chance to comment on their own preferences through the survey, which will be released on Sunday.

Among the issues the committee discussed was the importance of emphasizing the creativity of student activities through the design of the website. One of the ways in which they hope to accomplish this is through the photos on the main page, which they hope will change every day. Kallas said he liked featuring current student activities as main photos, possibly including photos taken by students for the annual Creative Thought Matters photo contest.

On this subject, the committee also discussed making changes to the CTM photo gallery in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall, which currently feature photos of now-alumna taken by Emma Dodge Hanson '93. They also discussed the possibility of extending the gallery to other places around campus with blank walls, as well as including a section for it in the new website design.

"I think it needs to say something about the Skidmore experience," Forbush said.

Daniella Nordin, the College's online community manager, also announced the development of a new social media course in conjunction with the Career Development Center, which will instruct students in web marketing and basic website skills. The course, which has approximately 20 available seats, will begin on March 26, will consist of four sessions, and is open to all students.

To further discuss the website designs, two focus groups met over the Spring Break, one comprised of faculty members, which met on March 13, and one of students, which will meet on March 20 from 9:30 to 10:30 and again from 4 to 5 p.m. in conference rooms 1 and 2 in the Murray-Aikins Dining Hall. Students may attend either one. The redesign committee will meet again in three weeks to analyze the results of the survey.

More detailed information about the new website designs can be found here.

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