Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Numbers Don't Lie

The re.web project site has received more than 13,000 hits since going live 9 months ago -- there have been 3,736 visits in August alone. This project clearly captures the attention of the W&M community.

posted by Joel Pattison

Friday, August 24, 2007

If Architects Had to Work Like Web Designers . . .

I've seen this around the blogosphere - can't find it attributed to an individual. Regardless, there's a lot of truth in the humor.
posted by Susan Evans
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Dear Mr. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don't have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don't bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet.

However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor's house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can't happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I've given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can't handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

students and re.web

It's no secret that students are the largest and most active group of web users here at the College. Our efforts to revitalize the W&M web presence will definitely include input from the student body-- in fact mStoner will talk with more than 40 students on their first campus visit in September. About 150 individuals will meet with the consultants over the course of three days-- that means more than one-fourth of the people mStoner speaks with will be students!

Names for these one-hour group sessions have come from a variety of campus leaders who regularly interact with students. Several students who work part-time will also attend; adding to what we believe is an eclectic mix of individuals.

Grad students will get their chance to share their opinion when mStoner makes a second campus visit to work more closely with our graduate programs later this fall.

There will be many other opportunities for students to participate, including during site design and usability testing. Of course, students can always provide feedback through the re.web site-- if you have opinions or questions, all of us on the project team would love to hear from you!

posted by Joel Pattison

Saturday, August 18, 2007

W&M in a Box

A box of W&M goodies is on the way to the windy city. Over the past couple of weeks, we've been collecting items to send to the mStoner team.

To prep for their September visit to W&M, we've provided the following materials to mStoner:
  • admission publications (view books, etc.)

  • marketing and PR pieces (brochures, flyers)

  • College publications (W&M News, Ideation, Swem Library newsletter, Catalog, and more)

  • disc of campus photography (including some beautiful shots from our photographer Steve Salpukas)

  • W&M strategic plan and mission statement

  • List of our peer institutions

  • web stats for www.wm.edu

  • aannddd . . . a copy of the brand-new video shown during admission visits!

W&M in a box should keep the mStoner team busy for a bit.

posted by Susan Evans

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Go Wolfpack?

After tomorrow, Tim Jones will leave William and Mary to accept a position at NC State. He's been a critical representative of Public Affairs on the re.web project, and we'll miss him.

This week, NC State launched a brand new web site at http://www.ncsu.edu and a new blog entry about hiring Tim as their Director of Web Communication.

posted by Susan Evans

Monday, August 13, 2007

They Came from Far and Wide . . . and from Chicago

Patrick DiMichele and I were guests at a recent retreat hosted by the Public Affairs Office. We had a great conversation about the web and the critical involvement of Public Affairs in the re.web project.

Patrick talked about using the web to convey the culture and personality of colleges and universities. Take a look at some of the sites he highlighted during the discussion:
Eckerd College: a neat microsite
MIT Blogs: the daily adventures of students
UVA: Campaign Site

posted by Susan Evans

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

There's no doubt the re.web project has landed in a new phase. Now that we have inked a contract with mStoner, we are preparing for three days chock-full of small group meetings between the mStoner team and members of the W&M community. Target dates are September 18, 19, and 20.

All told, mStoner reps will likely end up talking with nearly 150 people! Joel Pattison and I spent a lot of time on scheduling today. Oracle Calendar and color-coded spreadsheets help, but it's still a lot to manage.

"My! People come and go so quickly here!"

posted by Susan Evans