Monday, October 29, 2007

The Top 4 (we don't want to make this list)

More than a year ago, when the re.web project was only a "twinkle in the eye(s)" of its supporters, Provost Geoff Feiss sent me a link to a University Business article about higher education web redesign projects.

Read Karine Joly's article >> "10 Tips to a Successful Website Redesign." Karine also has a great blog for college web editors.

Note the Top 4 Website Redesign Mistakes at the end of the article. Not only are they worth heeding but two of the mistakes to avoid on this list were identified by Michael Stoner.

Readers, how do you think re.web is stacking up against the advice in the article?

posted by Susan Evans

Friday, October 26, 2007

No Nail Biting Going On Here

Today we wait ... tomorrow we wait ... for the mStoner Web Strategy Report!

Patrick DiMichele has endless patience for my subtle (first time I asked) and now not so subtle hints about the contents of THE report he's writing. It is, after all, going to be chock-full of ideas, concepts, and recommendations for the W&M web. If Patrick weren't such an exceptional web guru, project manager extraordinaire type, he could be a CIA agent.

All kidding aside, we expect a draft strategy report from mStoner early next week ... picture me biting my nails. Are you reading this, Patrick? ;)

posted by Susan Evans

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Weekly re.web Podcasts: Titled by Cliches

Hey there, re.web blog readers:

We decided to liven things up a bit and record a weekly podcast about re.web. Episode one is entitled "To Be Honest With You." Enjoy!
Links to the re.web content within the W&M on iTunes U site:

posted by Susan Evans

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Do I Do Now?

We have decided to build a new house and completely demolish the old one. Architects and designers are starting to sketch out blueprints. We are interviewing contractors. We are very excited about the prospect of moving into a new space and are envisioning all the details we want to see there.
BUT - we still have to live in our old house until the new one is ready. This means we still have to take out the trash, vacuum and do all the little things that keep our home livable. Planting a new garden is probably not the best idea right now, but if the roof leaks, we have to fix it.
  • Keep web pages up to date.
  • Fix things that are broken.
In addition to keeping up with daily life in our old home, we also have to prepare to move. Let's take a good look at our content. Is it something we really want to move into a new home? We’ve lived in this house for a long time. The corners are full of stuff that we thought we’d need but really haven’t looked at in years. What can we get rid of? The less we have to move, the faster and smoother the process will go.
  • Check out the document “Road to the New W&M Web Presence” for tips on refreshing content.
  • Copy all the files not used for the web site and then delete them from the web folder. (I know, I know – some of this may still be useful. Move it into storage so it is accessible when needed. The idea is to keep only what is used.)
Building a new home and moving is hard work for everyone. Fortunately, we have a few months before the moving trucks get here. If we use the time wisely and get all our “stuff” in good order, the process will be smoother for everyone and we can start enjoying our new space that much faster.

posted by Kathy Larrieu

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How a House is Like a Web Site

I’m new around here. I’m still learning the ropes and feel that now would be a good time to slow down and re-explain this whole re.web project - for my benefit, as well as for those of you who are just tuning in and feel a little lost.

As several earlier posts have pointed out, this project is a lot like building a house:

posted by Kathy Larrieu

HighEdWebDev: Back to Campus

Brought to you by W&M's contingent at HighEdWeb

The W&M contingent at HighEdWeb travels home today. As souvenirs from the trip, we have ideas swirling in our brains, notes scribbled on paper, and topics for many follow-up conversations. All good stuff for the re.web project.

Thanks to Courtney Carpenter for sponsoring this conference attendance. State budget cuts for W&M are confirmed for the current fiscal year but funding for the HighEdWeb conference was a priority for IT.

posted by Susan Evans

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

HighEdWebDev: Lessons Learned from a Hair Stylist

Brought to you by W&M's contingent at HighEdWeb

Beck Tench of the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University led an incredible workshop on "Designing Compelling User Experiences" this morning. She presented ideas on brainstorming with concept maps, bulls-eye diagrams, and card sorts.

Beck went in depth about how to effectively build web site navigation and how to limit "scope creep." Despite the complex nature of the topics she presented, her take home message came from something her hair stylist said: In the real world, time is short. The best way to get things done is trust your methods, ask good questions, and trust your instincts.

Good advice for the web, and for life in general.

posted by Joel Pattison

HighEdWebDev: Leaving Home

Brought to you by W&M's contingent at HighEdWeb

This AM, I attended a session about NJIT's work on their iTunes U site. In fact, it was a key component of their university web redesign project. W&M has similar opportunities with our own iTunes U site at

But this is not a post about iTunes U sites. Instead, it's meant to broaden our view about the web at W&M. For many, the W&M web is contained in But there's a big world out there and leaving Home can, and should, mean a voyage to myWM or a trip to W&M on iTunes U.

Web content away from Home ( means we'll have to make the destination worth the travel. Hmmmm, still "there's no place like home and W&M Home is where the heart is."

Link to NJIT's presentation at HighEdWeb 2007

posted by Susan Evans

Monday, October 15, 2007

HighEdWebDev: Power to the People

Brought to you by W&M's contingent at HighEdWeb

This morning, George Cook from Apple presented a keynote called "Thoughts on the Read/Write Web." Although technology allows an interactive, engaging, and media rich experience, the personal outcome is what matters. Web trends must be evaluated within the context of a personal experience.

MESSAGE? Personal outcomes are greater than or equal to web trends.

George offered some sites that, in his view, focus on personal outcomes. These sites are organic - they have evolved based on the people who use them. The content and features on these sites are not controlled or determined by a webmaster.
ADVICE? Start with the outcome in mind and work back to the web trend that supports it.

posted by Susan T. Evans

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Webdom for an FTE

Voltaire Santos Miran (mStoner senior partner, and recent visitor to the W&M campus) has posted some thoughts about staffing a "smart sustainable web solution" on the mStoner blog:
Nothing produces head nodding more quickly than a conversation about staffing. Or, more appropriately, understaffing for the web within colleges and universities...

Was an era (small era) that large institutions got by on one web editor and one technical person managing the entire public site.

Voltaire references "Shane Diffily’s terrific article about web staffing"—which is also a good starting point for the discussion.

We look forward to what Voltaire, Patrick DiMichele, Mark Sheehy and the rest of the mStoner team have to say to W&M on the subject in our forth-coming Strategy Report.

Posted by Andrew Bauserman

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

HighEdWeb 2007

Several members of the re.web project team will be traveling to Rochester, NY next week to attend the HighEdWeb conference. Beyond enjoying what will hopefully be cooler weather (please no snow) and commiserating with the locals over the Bills' recent loss to the Cowboys on MNF we have a specific and important agenda. Several CMS vendors will be represented at the conference and we will talk in detail with as many as humanly possible. This is a great opportunity to put faces to names, ask specific questions, and to get live, unscripted product demonstrations without the 3-10 second delays of LiveMeeting and WebEx!

Most importantly, we look forward to meeting and talking with our peers in Higher Education. Establishing relationships and learning from their experiences in similar redesign efforts will be invaluable.

We have been anxiously awaiting this opportunity, and we're looking forward to sharing what we learn with the Web Advisory Committee, our faithful blog readers :), and just about anyone who is willing to listen.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tell Me More, Tell Me More

Critical conversations between the mStoner team and people at the College are continuing in the coming week. Patrick and Mark are scheduled to conference call with W&M Rector Michael Powell and with Vice President Sam Sadler and other administrators in Student Affairs.

Virtual conversations will be underway as Joel Pattison is working with the mStoner team on a short survey to be sent to W&M law students. Patrick and Mark met with some students during their September visit to the School of Law, but they'd like to have the thoughts and impressions of additional students there.

posted by Susan Evans