PARKER FISKE ’18
When students return to Trinity in the fall, they will notice a number of changes to the College’s website. Work started back in spring 2017. Along with a group of students, faculty and administrators, the body launched a vision to reshape the website to better reflect the school. Those changes are both aesthetic and content related.
The current website dates back to 2011 and uses a program called Sharepoint, but one of the many changes to the website involve shifting over to a program called WordPress. Vice President for Communications and Marketing Angela Schaeffer emphasized that the decision to switch content management platforms was evidence of student input throughout the process. Ms. Schaeffer credits student input in a 2017 survey sent out to the student body as instrumental in moving the college towards WordPress.
Ms. Schaeffer says that student voices “have been incredibly helpful and have contributed significantly to the decision to move to WordPress as a content management system; to focus group conversations held with our outside design partner, Fastspot; to ongoing leadership of the project.” There is currently a student representative on the advisory group as well.
The Communications Department is spearheading the effort, however. Director of Digital Communications Caroline Deveau has been the lead on the project since the beginning conversations in early 2017. Ms. Deveau, Ms. Schaeffer, and Manager of Web Services Ellen Buckhorn serve on the web redesign team alongside three members of the Information Technology Services and a broader redesign advisory group.
Ms. Schaeffer admits that redesigning a website is always difficult, but so far there have been few obstacles along the way. “I guess to me the biggest challenge with a project like this—not an obstacle, but something always to be attentive to—is the balancing act of moving the project forward steadily while ensuring broad community involvement and awareness of the project,” she says.
Ms. Schaeffer feels, as many others involved with the project do, that the website is the front door for the school. It represents the values that make Trinity unique and special. Ms. Schaeffer admits “It’s also true that the website—our homepage in particular— is a valuable piece of storytelling real estate, and we believe we can design a website that will be a much better vehicle than our current site is for sharing stories that showcase what’s truly distinctive about Trinity and its community members.”
So far the process has hit a few notable milestones, including a decision about a new CMS in spring of 2017, the selection of a design partner in August of last year, and the launch of a companion Summit website.
Since January, Deveau has led “the development of a launch content plan, information architecture, and two rounds of homepage design concepts,” according to Ms. Schaeffer. The website will be up and running come the fall and Ms. Schaeffer encourages students to track the progress on the redesign blog.