Working on the redesign of a college website

November 2011 – The desire for a site redesign is first mentioned, you knowingly sigh a deep sigh to yourself.

February 2012 – An administrative committee is formed to lay out the main categorizations and links for the new site.  You shake your head at the first inkling that there are to be changes to cutesy, vague category names like “Discover”.  “Global” is also included, which still makes you chuckle.

May 2012 – A wireframe design is complete, and example pages are shopped around campus.

June 2012 – After three campus demos, and sign-off from the various stakeholders, you put together a project plan to execute on the redesign.

July 2012 – The “categories” for the links are finalized, and guidance is given in what to include in each category.  You provide feedback that we need to be really certain these are the categories we want to go with, because you’re also rolling these menu items out to 150+ sites using the theme, so it’s not simple to go back and change link names later.

November 2012 – The plans to implement the redesign are finalized

December 2012 – The trigger is pulled over holiday break

January 2013

  • The first call comes in to change a category back to the way it was before.
  • You get the first  “I can’t find the calendar” call. You provide the three places that the calendar is directly linked from, along with the guidance that if you type “calendar” in the search box and click go it is the first result.
  • You get the first call from someone angry that their link is “missing”.
  • You get the first angry tweet from a student that things look different now.

January 2013, week two

  • The second call to change a category back to the way it was before the redesign
  • The first call from someone upset that they are no longer featured on the front page of the website
  • You get an email from someone who was in the group who created the new menu items, asking you why you chose the menu items you did.

January 2013, week three

  • The student newspaper asks you “why do you think the redesign has been criticized so much?”
  • This is also the first time you field a call from someone who is angry that you change something back for someone who was angry that it changed in the first place

January 2013, week four

  • The third call comes in to change a category back to the way it was before the redesign, you realize now that you’re 75% back to the menus and navigation as they were before the process began.  You put head on desk and close your eyes.
  • You touch up your LinkedIn Profile



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