Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Drum Roll Please

The most loyal readers of this blog know that three possible designs for a new W&M Homepage are under consideration. We've been dying to show you the three options and today, we're doing just that.

Show me the three design options :)

posted by Susan Evans


Anonymous said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

I can't pick a favorite, though I really like 1 & 3.

Anonymous said...

I guess I like 1 & 3 because of their large colorful images- while 2 seems kind of drab. Great work though!

Anonymous said...

I think 3 is the best, 2 is just terrible and very WM-esque (boring). However, thank god no where to be seen is the new godforsaken WM logo.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't use "cutting edge" to describe any of these.

1 is just plain lifeless

2 is fine - albeit a bit too safe in design - secondary pages on 2 work really well, clean and easy to use, but if the homepage lacks any real spark I may never click past it to see them.

3 is a good idea that isn't there yet. I like the idea and its a trend in design to show 'a window' to the school and attempt to put me on the campus. this fails to draw me in with that but the idea is going the right direction.

I'd request one more design. None of these really would excite me as a person considering W&M as well as several other schools. I've been to the campus and its more engaging than these designs deliver.

Good luck and thanks for sharing these.

Anonymous said...

"I've been to the campus and its more engaging than these designs deliver."

But isn't actually being in a location always more engaging than looking at it through a computer screen?

Anonymous said...

I like the messages shared on all of these pages. "A party school for smart kids (can I say that)"- "I have a 300 year old crypt under my electron microscope"... They all help us get outside of our the "smart but no fun" image that we seem to be in the middle of. The graphics and design of the pages leave me wanting a bit. Not sure what I would suggest. I think one and two are the best. Three is hard to navigate if it doesn't all fit on your screen without adjusting the size... My 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

The first one is clearly the best. I think that we should be realistic about what we're doing here, too - it's a college website, not Tila Tequila, and so there has to be some amount of staid-ness to it. It's great that it is more compact, the layout is interesting, and I think you should go with the first one. The second one is awful, the third one was a little confusing at first glance.

PS what is going on as far as mobile content? I don't think this should be overlooked as more and more people have smartphones, ipod touch, or the iphone, and its amazing how much people use them to surf the net.

Anonymous said...

3 is the best. Those who called it drab must see beyond the sepia toned photos. It's the cleanest design and everything is on one page without scrolling.

1 is just awful. The banner with the menu options resting an inch below the contact info is wasted space.

2 is not much better. It's like a web page for people who can't read... there's no text. The colors are garish on the landing page and within as well. Is orange a color that we really want featured as a navigation color? I would if I went to a certain school in Charlottesville. Not W&M.

Anonymous said...

While all three design options trump the current site, #2 seems uninspiring. #1 is my favorite because it appears more easily navigatable than #3. Well done!

Adam Anthony said...

I like the front page of #1 a lot -- but I like the interior page of #3 as well. I think they're sharp, clear, and don't present too many options.

I don't know where to click on #2. Waaay too many menus.

Anonymous said...

Although option 3 is appealling, practically, it is more difficult to navigate. Options 1 and 2 are better, but I do have some concerns about content and the amount visitors will need to scroll down in order to see contect. Option 1 is brighter than the others.

Anonymous said...

Concepts one and two get my vote. Concept three just looks too busy and therefore somewhat distracting. Thanks for keeping us involved/informed with the process.

Anonymous said...

For me it is a tie between 1 and 2 leaning toward 2. 3 is a visual sensory overload - nice images but too much for a homepage.

As far as Template 1 is concerned, I don't know if I like the banner going through the image like that. "The Newest Old School" is catchy though.

I don't like the color scheme for Template 2 - too dark and muted (it reminds me of an accounting or law firm website). However, I do like the navigability - especially the "info for" section.

Anonymous said...

There don't seem to be particular design elements that are distinctive, save the central logo element on #3.

#1 is cluttery, two is safely generic, and three could have been modern, had not #1's headers been attached to it.

Could we shop these out to a random sample of applicants for review? If anybody should be tested by design efforts, it's them.

Anonymous said...

I don't think 2 is boring. I like it . It is better to see everything. 1 & 3 are Too Busy.

slice said...

I prefer number 2 because it is easier to navigate and less confusing. Substance over style.

Anonymous said...

Number 3 is way too busy!!!!!!!!!!
Number 1 is scary! If you don't know the history of the statue, it doesn't make any sense.
Number 2 seems the best out of the 3.

Shouldn't W&M stand out more. I would think that we would want people to know right away that they are looking and W&M website.......

Anonymous said...

My picks are 1&2. Not cutting edge, but a big improvment over the current site. No. 3 is crowed, sensory overload, and difficult to navigate.

Anonymous said...

On the main home page 3 is just too much graphics and doesn't fit on my screen. Even 1 and 2 have a lot of graphics, too much for me.

I prefer these screens. A good combo of graphics and text.

john coleman said...

Okay, I guess I am the odd guy... I like 2 the best. I like the cleanness of it. The pics could be a little bit larger, but not too much.
Then I would go with 1. 3 just doesn't work for me.

Anonymous said...

There is something off about 2. I prefer 1, although I am not fond of the way the navigation bar cuts off half of the picture.

Anonymous said...

Number 2 appeals to me - it's the cleanest of the designs...although I like the picture of the statue with sunglasses from #1...!

Re: #3: with the size screen I have it was not at all apparent that there were four images in four quadrants. If I missed it, so could other viewers.

Re; #1: agree with earlier posting about the 1 inch of wasted space.

Anonymous said...

Like 1 and 2. Three is a throw back to the 70's bad font choice, too busy. 2 is probably the most clean and easy to navigate, but I felt like I was looking at an ad from a hospital because of the color and no defining WM photo. 1 would be ok if the top bar were moved to the bottom of the page. Take the menu bar from out of the photo and move to the top. Use 3's inside page which is probably one of the sharpest looking out there. Meld pages 1 and 2 get rid of the black. Like the Impact, and the focus on the students. Need a photo on the front page that is defining of W&M. Like the slogans. Fun and catchy.

Anonymous said...

Number 1 is clearly the best.

Number two looks far too boring, especially with the sepia toned pictures. We're in the 21st century! We have color!

Number 3 is interesting and reminds me a little of Carnegie Mellon's homepage although theirs is a bit more developed (

Anonymous said...

None of the designs is really very innovative. Only #2 gives the user fairly clear options to find information. #1 and #3 are too dominated by photos and graphics. Please, please remove the photo of TJ statue with the sunglasses -- it just doesn't "work!"

Anonymous said...

"But isn't actually being in a location always more engaging than looking at it through a computer screen?"

--Yes, absolutely. But what percentage of college bound students are going to take visiting the campus as their first step in selecting a college. Unless its right down the street, they are going right to the website, then request materials, then schedule a visit. If the site doesn't engage them and give them the sense of place - you've lost them.

Anonymous said...

They were all a much better improvement than the current web design. I liked 1 and 3 the most - both were very fresh, but seemed to portray the right image.

Anonymous said...

Option 1 leads me to believe that the school is taking a more serious approach to its web image. The current website has portrayed the school as an outdated school and any change is greatly appreciated. Option 1 would require intensive programming, but would be well worth it.
Lastly, there is a risk with these three designs that their page layout could get boring as hundreds of web pages are made. But Option 1 provides a clean and well-made example of where WM is trying to go with its web image.

Mike said...

I'm gonna go with 1 as my favorite. It's simple and straightforward (unlike 3) and attractive (unlike 2). I like 3's second page a lot though

Cjizzle said...

I really liked the design of concept 2. It felt more welcoming towards a younger generation. Our current webdesign does maintain a sense of professionalism and I hope that the new design does not lose that. However, concept 2 looks exciting and inviting, if I was a prospective student checking out the school, I would definately consider WM with that design :) Good work !

Shannon said...

I really do prefer design #2. I like the home / intro page of any website to be clean and simple. Too many graphics can be disorienting and draw your eye to the wrong thing.

Anonymous said...

1 is clean and simple, 2 is a little boring and drab, and 3 is the most visually interesting and eye-grabbing.

I think 1 and 3 tie

Anonymous said...

1 is confusing, 2 is too serious in design (sepia tends to seem serious to me), but 3 is like wow. Obviously, more work is needed. Good work so far...

Anonymous said...

I think #3 will make a lot of people confused, and the menu bar is actually boring. There's just too much unnecessary graphics in #3. My favorite here is #1. Still, I think giving a little more life(brighter color perhaps?) to #2, which has too heavy and dead colors, will make me harder to choose between 1 & 2.

Anonymous said...

Oooh! All the designs are a welcome upgrade from our current drab page, but here we go:

#1: Love it. It's got all the classy traditional school logos and none of the disappointing new logo, +1. The navigation bar over the pic of TJ makes it very modern. If this picture-at-the-top format continues for all of the pages, though, I would recommend downsizing it slightly, so as to not annoy people who have to always scroll down for the info they're looking for and those unfortunate souls who still have slow loading times. I would say that the amount of information on the page, however, toes the line between drawing interest and being to busy to focus attention. Oh, and the "America's Newest Old School" line seems a little cheesy, can we go for something more along the lines of "America's Alma Mater"?

2. I like the concept of it and the cute student quotes, but I feel like I'm looking at a website for some Fortune 500 company with customer testimonials instead of the website of one awesome school. If I was a prospective, this would not draw me in.

3. Again, I like the concept here, but the pictures are too big for that layout, and the information seems geared toward current members of the W&M community. That's fine, since we are the ones who use the site more, but if I were a prospective using this site I would want less of "W&M current events" and more of info that will entice me to look into the school more.

Anyways, thanks so much, all three designs are lovely compared to what we have now. :) Can't wait for the upgrade!

Anonymous said...

All three homepages have their flaws.

For that I think the designers should come up with something different. The page should be modern, engaging, navigable, and minimalist.

No one should have to scroll to see the entire page. It should fit on one page w/o having to move around. There should be less "student happenings" and updates but rather the most important news. Less is more.

Concept 1: I don't understand what we are trying to achieve by saying we are "America's Newest Old School." What's new about w&m?Aviators on TJ? Also, if the landing page on the 1st concept is an example of what all other pages will look like then I don't want it. The format is no better than our's now.
Concept 2: The student profiles belong on the admissions page. Also, the entire tone is very solemn.
Concept 3: Too much clutter. Although the landing page is alright.

Some decent homepages are Brown University's and Hamilton College's. Concept 3's landing page is solid.

They say you can't please everyone but here's somewhere the designers should really try doing just that. Good luck. Thanks

Lynne Kelly said...

I prefer the second design. The third is image heavy--it seems awkward and too dark. The first is nice, but I personally don't care for the menu in the middle of the image--again, it seems a bit awkward. And the sub-page of the first selection is too similar to what we have now. The second is more put together. I like the almost monocromatic images of our students (it's artsy). All menus are understandable and easy to find. And I really like how you made the green background go from muted to intense, top to bottom. How did you do that? Number 2 is my choice, it is classy and intellegent--like W&M!

Jeff said...

I like design 2. It is more modern looking yet still easy for users to find what they are looking for.

Anonymous said...

Hard to get excited about any of these since they're all about style and not about substance. One thing: as a faculty member I visit university sites to get access to the library and its catalogue-- I'd feature that whatever style is chosen.

Anonymous said...

I really like concept #2. It is crisp, clean and easy to click on items that you would be needing to search through.

Some may think it is boring, but it is rich looking ... not too glittery, not too cluttered, not too much to see at first glance.

It is just a classy site.

Justin Reid said...

Concept #1 is the best, by far.

Having the large photos that showcase W&M's unique college experience and the beauty of our campus is its greatest feature.

This concept is modern without being overly advanced or confusing. It's also able to still capture the prestige of the College.

I think having the "W&M Impact" box is genius! People need to know that W&M students aren't just sitting in the library all day. We are out in the world making a difference.

I do have one (minor) critique that applies to all three (3) concepts, and that is the left-hand navigation bar on the landing pages. There are too many links listed; some are unecessary. "W&M at a Glance" and "W&M by Numbers" are essentially the same thing. They should be combined into one. "Our History" and "Our Traditions" could also be combined (although I don't know how I feel about our traditions being laid out on our website - it kind of takes away from them). I'd also change the order to:
- W&M at a Glance
- Our History (which we definitely need to find a way to highlight and market more)
- The W&M Difference
- W&M in Words
- Administration
- Visiting Campus

I'm very excited to see the new, long overdue site! I've been following the reweb site very closely and I commend the committee for all their hard work.

Anonymous said...

The first concept is way too cluttered and unattractive.

It's down between numbers two and three. While two is very clean and efficient, three, for lack of better words, is more "trendy," which isn't necessarily a good thing. Yet at the same time it's very visually appealing and a refreshing change to both the old website, but perhaps more importantly other school sites. If you can somehow make two slightly more edgier, or three more focused and less distracting, then I think you guys would be well on your way to a holistically powerful website.

In general, you guys have done a great job, and a minor suggestion in specifics that I can offer is making the green of background more vibrant and lighter. The darker, dull green is not effective, in my opinion.

Xsyntriq said...

Considering what we currently have, all of the designs are pretty darn nice :c)

On Concept 1 - I really don't like the way the menu bar cuts across the photos and I think it should be moved up to just above the cipher. When you're on a landing page, I wish the tab-indicator was more obvious - that little green underline just isn't enough IMO. I do like having the cipher on the pages. I also like the info bar at the bottom of the page that has the copyright and address (I feel that info should be on all of the pages).

On Concept 2 - The colors are kind of dull. Why not use a pale gold instead of that pale-sage-green color? I miss having address info at the bottom of the page. I like that I only need to roll my scroll-wheel one click to see the entire page. I appreciate how the tab is highlighted when you're on a landing page.

On Concept 3 - Wow - almost total love for this one. Love the cipher connecting the pictures. Love the menu bar at the top and the info bar at the bottom. Not too fond of the darkness though - can you lighten that surrounding background a bit? On the landing page - how do you tell what tab you're on? The tabs don't change - are they supposed to?

On all of the pages, I like that there are opportunities to use images. I believe images are a great way to engage a visitor and encourage them to click for more information. But, must everything be so square? Can some of the images be circles/ovals or even triangles for a change of pace and added interest?

Anonymous said...

I prefer design concept 2, since it combines the ease of access to the William & Mary News with eye-catching, attractive graphics.

What a huge improvement over the current site.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity to comment! One and two are an improvement over the current, but three provides too little immediate information. Two has the better layout, but uninformative pictures. How do large portraits of generic undergrads tell me about W & M?

"Party school for smart kids" is just plain odd. It's no type of party school, thank goodness, and students shouldn't be called kids, ever. I get what you're going for, but there must be a better way. I'm confident the new web site will look great!

Anonymous said...

I like that number 2 has the easy lay-out and the option of "current students," "parents," "faculty and staff," etc... in an easily accessible and identifiable location. Whatever the design, I think it's important to have these options readily available for visitors and students.

Anonymous said...

Many of the comments posted here seem to privilege the PHOTOGRAPHY and COLOR SCHEME over the USER INTERFACE. In other words, I get the impression that many commentators are making their recommendations based on the photographs and colors rather than the actual design. PHOTOGRAPHS AND COLORS ARE EASILY CHANGEABLE; DESIGN IS NOT.

#2 is user-friendly, professional, and clean--much more so than the other choices. However, I'd suggest nixing the sepia photographs and the drab color scheme to make the site more lively and upbeat to more accurately represent who we are as an institution.

Anonymous said...

Do not like #1 at all. Why aren't we showing Cremdell or the bronze statues of students studying. I know first time we visited W&M these two things impressed us so much. All of our family that have visited over the years agree. I do thank you for your efforts.

Anonymous said...

whatever you choose don't compare it to our current website please. what we end up with will ofcourse be better than what we have now. we should focus on making it a top college website. compare it to other top schools that have updated theirs recently.

Andrew said...

I personally like #2 the best, with #1 following close behind.

If #2 is chosen, I would recommend incorporating the footer from #1. Putting the address right on the front page is a very nice touch for visitors.

Although visually appealing, #3 has very little actual content.

And finally,
*PLEASE* make sure that the final design is usable on a 1024x768 screen, perhaps even smaller (because not all of us browse with the windows maximized). This is absolutely a requirement, considering that the screens on the "official" W&M laptops max out at 1024x768.

Design 3 violates this completely, while design 1 is decently compact. Design 2 could possibly be compacted a bit to accommodate us small screen users.

All 3 are great concepts, and I'm beginning to regain hope that W&M can hire competent designers, after constructing several ugly buildings, and ruining our logo!

Anonymous said...

This is so 100% correct: "*PLEASE* make sure that the final design is usable on a 1024x768 screen, perhaps even smaller (because not all of us browse with the windows maximized). This is absolutely a requirement, considering that the screens on the "official" W&M laptops max out at 1024x768.

Design 3 violates this completely, while design 1 is decently compact. Design 2 could possibly be compacted a bit to accommodate us small screen users."

This is so unbelieveably important it's ridiculous. As far as the updated site samples go, number 1 is still the best. Number 3 is just too busy! Where do I click? I don't know....The modified news sections are great on the first option, and I think you should definitely go with it. Let's make the WM website easy to navigate, easy to search, and easy to understand. Easy on the eyes is important too. Easy is the word of the day I guess!

BFC_Webmaster said...

My instinctive reactions (looking at each for no more than three seconds):
Design 1: yes
Design 2: yes
Design 3: no

A few early observations:
Design 1: I wanted to mouse over the items in the hide/show element
Design 2: I wanted to mouse over the pics to get more quotes.
Design 3: I wanted the four large graphics to take me to different places

I may comment more this weekend when I have more time to interact with the designs.

A faculty member (18 years & counting) said...

I feel very strongly that the 'TJ with shades' image would be negatively received by prospective students/parents. I agree with two previous comments. One said it 'just doesn't work'. The other said that the image is 'scary'. To be honest, the first thing that flashed into my mind when I saw it was the Unabomber or some similar dark figure! I appreciate the desire for change but.... this isn't it. I also agree that #3 is too busy/cluttered.

Anonymous said...

Two is the best of this bunch, even though it is rather reserved. It seems more useable, with clear navigation and a classy look. W&M is not a radical school and probably should not have a radical web page.

One kind of hurts the eyes. Why is the menu banner across the middle of the picture? Navigation is not as clear. The design looks sort of homemade. That mid-photo banner on secondary pages is really bad.

Three is just awful. The text in the first quadrant is hard to read. Navigation is not as clear. The pictures chosen do not go well together. If these are going to be rotating image, then there is no telling how jarring the color combinations may be. It looks like a home photo album.

EVERY college web site I have visited has navigation problems. The looks are important, but being able to find your way around is much more important.

George W. Gilchrist

Anonymous said...

#2 is Great. Very clean and makes sense to a first time user.

#3 is a bit embarrasing.

Whatever you do, make sure that the user knows he/she is on a William and Mary Website. WM colors and logo should be on display (just not that idiotic new logo from the trash company).

Very nice work.

Dale said...

Number 1 looks great, but I would move the menu up so that it doesn't cut through the image. Very nice design.

Dale Castle

Anonymous said...

All three are a definite improvement over what we have now. I would vote for #1, which is eye-catching and fairly clean in design. Design #2 is a bit boring, and #3 just seems too busy and cramped.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for allowing us to comment. I vote for #2 as it is the easiest to navigate and find things. The point about a website is its appearance but also the ease in finding things. #1 is a close second but #3 is complete overload and overwhelming at first glance.

Anonymous said...

#1: The menu bar through the middle of the photos is very distracting. The photo area at the top of the home page takes up too much real estate. Otherwise a decent design.
#2: Some students may like the Facebook look, but I'm not sure how it will go over with parents, alumni, prospective faculty and staff. Good color scheme, but not a very imaginative design for the home page. Good secondary page, however.
#3: Home page would be a good page in Life magazine, but not very useful as a Web page. However, pretty good secondary page.

staff person said...

Number 2 is by far the most attractive to me, it's clean and clear with easy to find navigation features. I like the classy, modern look of a more muted color scheme, although I can see that visitors younger than I would prefer more color. Adding some brighter colors (but keeping the same type of layout) might make it more appealing to more people. I like the way the various target audiences are lined up in the "Info for" section. The quotes and student photos are great.

Number 1 my second choice, although I don't like the navigation bar cutting across the photo, or the small photo that pops up. Hate any kind of pop-ups that require me to click them away.

I don't like the 4-block patchwork design of Number 3. Reminds me of real estate advertising images on interstate highway billboards. Too much image, too little information.

THANKS for putting a link to "my w&m" at the top of all the choices. Number 2 needs the W&M address on it, though, like 1 & 2 have (bottom of home page). Not everybody knows that W&M is in Williamsburg VA, and it's often very difficult to find mail and street addresses on websites.

Anonymous said...

Number 1 is the best, especially its revised version. The viewer can immediately see the options and move directly to the page or pages that would be useful.
Number 2 is choppy and ill designed.
Number 3 lacks clarity as to where to go next.

Anonymous said...

I like numbers 1 and 3 the best. One nagging dislike is the picture of Thomas Jefferson with the aviator sunglasses -- it seems too staged and comes off a bit cheesy. I'm not sure I would call number 1 edgy, but the mix of photos and text is easy to manuever and looks good. Number three's four photographs looks good, but I'm not sure that it tells a whole lot about William and Mary or lends itself to easy navigation.

Good luck with the rest of your work!

Anonymous said...

Hi -- I've already weighed in, but one thing I'd remind people is that the pictures, like the text, are just place holders. The web folks can put any photo back there they want. I agree that the TJ picture is edgy and maybe not what we want. But I don't think the web team intends on making that the permanent back drop...

Maybe I'm speaking out of ignorance???

Anonymous said...

Number one is the best and I really like the TJ with glasses back drop. I just recently decided to attend W&M and so I think I would be intrique with the first one and WM needs to be a littl emore EDGY

Chris said...

Really liking #1, but hating the extra space between the header bar and the main window image! Also, you've gotta get rid of that gray background, it's so bleak and stale! Brighten it up with some kind of blurry image of the campus trees on a sunny day or something! Maybe a blurry Crim Dell? Something! Take our website for example, the background image is blurry to add color but not too distracting.

Finally, if it would be possible to have the navigation bar background be less transparent when inactive (mouse not over it) so that you can see what's behind in better. Hovering over it would then reduce the transparency (back to normal/the current state now) so you can better see the options, this would be a welcomed addition to allow some images in which the focus is behind the navbar to have a better appeal.

Thanks, I really hope we go with #1! Don't forget to get it all on one screen... and in Firefox or IE, even with the tab bar open!

Anonymous said...

Number 1 all the way!!!!! Number 2 is boring, Number 3 is overwhelming. Number 1 is intreguing, eyecatching and looks easy to use.

Anonymous said...

First one is SCARY looking!!
The third one is the best, except for the top left image.

Anonymous said...

Any version that requires horizontal scrolling on a 800 x 600 display is unacceptable. These three versions all fail.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? These are the choices? Maybe a #4 that's either interesting ad quirky, or useful?

Anonymous said...

First, I'm so glad our site is being redesigned. Finally something more modern and should I say it, cutting edge?

I like #1 and #2 the best. #3, while creative, required too much scrolling, and I know personally I would not scroll down to the bottom of my browswer window to see what was there. I like the simpicity and aesthetic of 1 and 2 much better. They both displayed current events/news that had attention grabbing titles so I could choose what story I wanted to read, unlike what we have on our current site. And the student stories and blogs on the second could be interesting and add life to our stereotype of such a drab and lifeless school.

Sean said...

I quite prefer Design #1. #3 is pretty, but the website should be useful to everyone, not just a pretty admissions brochure. I'd quickly tire of the big splashy graphic and would prefer the easier, clean navigability of #1.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care for 1 and 3, I don't need confusing options all around on one and things, even minimizable, in the middle. 3 is just images and limits my navigation with the four options when I'd first come to it as someone knew, I wouldn't know where I needed to go.

#2 has the most ease of use which is what you want in a website. It was space for kewl information you don't need, while ensuring the focus is on the information you want.

senior said...

3 Updated Exterior: The images are too big. I have a big screen, and I still have to scroll down. The text over the images is nearly illegible, and the colors clash with the heading. The black background seems very 1999. William and Mary looks like a flashlight is shining on it. This isn't 'Are You Afraid of the Dark'. This is my least favorite.

2 Exterior: The gradients and the choice of a grayish green are not particularly appealing. The "Info For" section, which is what most people are probably looking for, is not differentiated from less important information. Because of the drop shadow on the main rectangle, the William and Mary name is hierarchically on the background of the image. Shouldn't it be at the forefront? I don't particularly care for the execution of this page, but the concept is at least more navigable than 3. Just because this looks like a lot of websites out there does not mean that it is the easiest to navigate.

1 Updated Exterior: The fact that the "Information For" section is at the top left makes it very easy to find. The menu-through-photograph just means that pictures must be selected with that area in mind. (Both examples do a good job of this.) The white text can be difficult to read. A tiny drop shadow (even as small as a line) could potentially fix legibility issues. On a related note, the William and Mary name doesn't seem to have quite enough emphasis. Perhaps it could blink? (kidding) To respond to this being too graphics-oriented, I would just like to say that text isn't as interesting on a front page. This design doesn't rely on graphical gimmicks, but rather it showcases relevant photographs that tell more from a glance than a black of unread text or empty space. The photos are also hierarchical in size to prevent confusion. I believe this is the design with the most potential because the navigation is so straightforward. (The most important/page-spanning elements appear in two easily identifiable horizontal rows. Less important navigational elements are in columns.)

3 Interior: The inside is much better. The header actually goes with the rest of the page, unlike on the front page. The continuity with the header remaining the same is a plus, however. The orange seems random. Perhaps a lighter green, gray, or even brown? There is another problem with white text. The see-through text doesn't match anything. This is decent layout, though the black still does not strike me as William and Mary.

2 Interior: I like the layout of the interior page when I cannot see the header. The lines are clean. The "Info For" is still problematic because it is not only half-way down the page again, but it has moved! The navigation still has a gradient. (I would like to see an example of this single gradient put to use effectively on a well-designed website.) The color scheme reminds me of dead grass on an overcast, winter day. The font for "About William & Mary" seems completely uncharacteristic of the page's tone. Overall, the layout for below the navigation is quite nice.

1 Interior: This keeps the navigational hierarchy of the first page, making everything easy to find. Important links are horizontal, and secondary links are vertical. This is an example of bad placement of the horizontal navigation. It has cut off nearly all of the students as well as the horizon! There may still be the white text problem with the William and Mary name. The rest of the layout seems impeccable.

Additional Comments:
Now that I look at it again, TJ in shades is a little creepy.

I disagree with 2 being the most useable because of previous comments. I do agree about it being the blandest, which is mainly a color issue.

I disagree that the space around the top navigational bar should go. This would not differentiate it from the rest of the page as much.

I also disagree about the image at top of 1's interior being too large. I think it is fine as it stands, though it would be simple to crop the image closer to the bottom of the navigational bar.

Please do not choose a "blurry picture of sunny trees" as a background. The senior class gift's website looks like it has a mold problem.

It might be nice to see W&M referred to by its official name, The College of William and Mary in Virginia, in the About section.

I suspect the Admissions Office has penned William & Mary's elaborate, interesting, and informational Wikipedia page. So why isn't this good information on our actual website? The current admissions site is a train wreck.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I hate more than our current site is design 3.

lana said...

in regards to design colleges have better websites.

in regards to 1 and 3, which i think are better than 2, the images and text is wayy too big. i mean come on we're not senior citizens.

1 is the best i think.

Sarah said...

My vote is for #1.

I feel like it is the most aesthetically pleasing and it captures the true essence of W&M the best.

Anonymous said...

I like #1 the best. It's very clean and well organized, and still looks good.

#2 is very...boring.

#3 I think is a good concept, but the page itself is too much all at once. There's not enough structure.

Joel Pattison said...

Thank you to everyone who has posted a comment. We truly appreciate your feedback on our project!

Just a few things I'd like to clear up...

All the images you see are placeholders. On every concept a different image will load every time the page is loaded... so don't worry too much if Thomas Jefferson in sunglasses isn't for you.

Secondly-- someone commented on the designs not fitting on an 800x600 screen without horizontal scrolling. These concepts are designed for visitors with 1024x768 resolutions or higher. This is considered the current standard screen size in modern web design. We must use the latest web standards so the new site won't appear dated after only a year or two.

And lastly: in spite of W&M's record, we aren't picking a web design for the next 7-10 years; whichever design we choose will change. In about 2 years there will be a minor overhaul, and the site will probably be completely redesigned again in 4 or 5 years.

Of course I truly hope everyone loves the new W&M web site. But if you don't, remember: this isn't a lifetime commitment-- it's the web, and it changes pretty fast.

Thank you again for your support.

Joel Pattison
Member of the re.web project team

Anonymous said...

While I think the colors are a bit dull, I like option 2 best for its effective, clean layout. Options 1 and 3 are just too busy. Remember that not all users of this website appreciate so much assault on the senses.

I definitely don't like the hovering banner on option 1.

Anonymous said...

I like design #2--clean, smart, communicative. It's cleverly informational, but not too much like a periodical's website. I'd say run with that one.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to the IT staff for your continued commitment to this important project. I like many aspects of all three designs. I humbly suggest that you try to incorpoate aspects of #2 (the window into the lives of students) so that we can articulate our vision, our values, our student culture, etc) on an ever changing basis. Gives us the flexability to change as students come up with ideas, new projects, etc.

Kudos to you all!

Administrator, 3 years said...

I believe that the "home page" should all fit in one window.

My least favorite option is #3 (and I did look at both versions of it). The four "topics" or "themes" don't mean anything particularly to me. I think that as either an internal (my bias) or an external user of the site, I'd only poke around on them if I really had lots of time for exploring. Maybe a serious prospective student and family might do that, or an alum just wanting to "catch up" with the alma mater, but for most users, it creates inefficiency and unnecessary clicks, to find what you're looking for.

#1, on the other hand, seems too minimalist. Those labels or menu items at the top are the users only options for finding what they want... although I gather that the drop-down menu will actually work (when I clicked it during this test, it just took me to the next picture of the site). You'd be putting an awful lot of pressure on the "usability" of the list in that menu if that's the only way a user could find, for example, the academic calendar, or how much tuition costs for 3 credits in-state graduate.

My favorite, primarily because of that little menu that is user-driven on the left-hand side, is #2. However - I had to scroll down to see that menu. I am sitting at my desk in a WM office, so I assume that my web-viewing numbers are set to the standard.

I've said before that we MUST remember that this site will be for "internal" use, not just for prospective students, so please keep that in mind as you work on the "clicks." An alum who has 2 minutes set aside to order a transcript needs to be able to get right to that information, without having to poke around through a lot of pictures trying to figure out whether she wants "Today," "Impact," "Style" or "Inquiry" (what is that... a website trying to be a magazine I guess... who has time for that!?). The alum should be able to get to transcript info in one or two clicks. SImilarly, a faculty member building his syllabus for the upcoming term needs to be able to find very quickly the term dates, for example.

And I do agree with the other notes... love the use of the cipher. Don't particularly like the use of orange, although I also don't want us to be strictly black, white, and green. I guess make it colorful without being garish.

Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

I am not captivated by any of the new designs. If I had to choose, I think I would pick the revised option 3.

john said...

Two is the best. Nice and clean, a good corporate style... we ARE a business you know, especially when it comes to marketing.

Then number 1. BUT, please reduce the size so it fits my browser window. I don't think you should have to scroll on the home page. Tacky

Anonymous said...

I really did not like #3. My eye did not know where to go.

Nicole said...

In terms of the overall aesthetic design, I'm not impressed. They are good starts, but need to be developed further.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the bar over the picture in number 1.

Number 3 is too much... (like someone said about Life magazine).

So Number 2 is my pick.

Will "Administration" be a bar entry or down a couple clicks?

Anonymous said...

There is no mention here about the accessibility of the site for those with low or no sight. This website should have embedded descriptions of photos and the ability to change font size or eliminate photos and have text that a reading machine can use.

Joel Pattison said...

One of the goals of the re.web project is expanded accessibility of the W&M web site. Our new site will follow section 508 and W3C guidelines as completely as possible (while maintaining compatibility with older/different browsers).

Joel Pattison
Member of the re.web project team

Anonymous said...

My runaway favorite is #1!

Anonymous said...

Number two is the best.

Anonymous said...

I like #1.

Anonymous said...

I like the new look! I'm especially a fan of concept #3 (revised) because I'm in the new picture, haha. But I do like T.J. in the aviators so I'm torn between the two versions of #3. Way to go! It was time for a change!

Anonymous said...

Call me traditional, but I like #2 and particularly dislike #3.

Anonymous said...

The quotes from #2 are horrible. "It's a party school for smart kids."
This is true if partying means studying during the week and then being oppressed by the fascist police force on the weekend. Don't lead people on and then massively disappoint them.

"My life? The library. Drama club...."
I don't see how this would make anyone want to come here. While it is true that you will spend a lot of time in Swem Prison, I would hope that doesn't actually appeal to anyone.

These quotes suck, better just not tell kids what they're in for and just show pretty pictures instead.

Anonymous said...

2. hands down.

Becky said...

In terms of design, I like Concept Two much better; the other two are weird and blocky and ugly. Concept Two has a *much* cleaner design.

Anonymous said...

First off thanks, the new designs are actually something that I can be excited about. I'm impressed with what you've come up with.

I like the layout of 2 the best, simply because it is fresh, while still maintaining a professional tone. I would like to see the colors changed around however, they are rather bland and don't capture my attention the way 1&3 do. (I also love the TJ picture, so if that could be incorporated somehow that would be AWESOME!)

1 needs to be shrunk down to fit the browser window, and it's hard to read "America's Newest Old School" Perhaps it could be written in yellow with a green outline?

3 is just too much for a school homepage. I really like the design for something less formal however. Perhaps it could be incorporated somewhere else in the site, like in the student section?

Anonymous said...

As a student who uses the INFORMATION on the W&M web site regularly I require the ability to get to it easily. Make a link to student information, no matter how drab, very accessible.

Anonymous said...

#3 is the most pleasing graphically. However, #2 is the one that will be the easiest to actually use. I suggest you spruce up #2 to look more like #3. I also suggest you remove the student staring at the viewer from #2. It's a bit disturbing to have on a home page.

Anonymous said...

I like #2 & #3. I will need to study this more in detail. I like the cleanness of #3 with its cathcy phrase about the crypt and electron microscope but I also like the imaginery in #2. Great job with both - very creative.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I thought re.web was going to focus primarily on fixing Banner and my.wm. So I'm a bit disappointed that's not the case, since it is painful using that interface. Oh well.

First impression: Easy on the eyes; the picture caught my eye first, but then I went straight to the menu bar, which is good.

- The layout is very traditional. I personally like that because hey, traditional works .
- The picture of Jefferson is the centerpiece, but isn't overwhelmingly so. It's enough to be noticed, but not so much that you fail to see anything else.
- The menu bar is easily seen and readily accessible. To me, that is the most important component. A front page simply can't contain all the information that's available, and so visitors need to be able to locate the information they need easily and rapidly. The visibility of the menu bar in this design definitely enables them to do so.
- The "Impact" box is in a perfect location. I noticed it, but was able to move on and keep looking. I feel that someone outside of the college would be drawn to this, and students and faculty of the college can easily "ignore" this box if need be. Again, just like the Jefferson picture, it successfully balances being noticeable and not being obnoxious.

- The layout is very traditional. If you're truly aiming for look-at-me innovative, this doesn't do it. As you can see, the traditionalism can go both ways, in my opinion. :]
- The color scheme is somewhat bland. Adding some gold wouldn't hurt.

Overall: Out of the three designs, this is by far the best one. I don't like the addition of pictures to the news headlines though. I think that detracts from being able to quickly skim the articles.

First impression: UGH PEOPLE FACES. I abhor brochures/websites that use this technique. Why? BECAUSE EVERY UNIVERSITY HAS PEOPLE. As a prospective, I'm not interested in seeing the pictures of people who will probably have graduated by the time I arrive on campus. And, more importantly, a face tells me NOTHING about the school. I see that by clicking on the pictures, you can read about the student perspective. That is a good idea. I like that. But PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not make that the centerpiece of the homepage. It's so.... so.... Well, basically, I can find this sort of thing anywhere. I have seen this technique on far too many brochures and websites. "HAPPY PEOPLE SMILING YAY!" No. It seems so fake to me. We're a college of substance, and this lacks substance completely.

- The "America's Best Colleges" medal is cool, but should perhaps be more visible. Maybe it could even hover somewhere more towards the top.
- KEEP THE INFO FOR BAR! That thing is helpful! As long as it actually brings me to the appropriate links, I'm happy. Please keep that in the layout.
- This layout has more sprinklings of gold/yellow. I like that a lot. It catches the eye.

- Well, my first impression was not a good one. :[
- I don't like how squished everything seems to be at the bottom. It looks like the focal point is the giant picture of the student, and then the rest is almost an afterthought. Like I said before, this lacks substance. The "meat" of the homepage, to me, would be what's in the second half. The stuff on the bottom is more what I want to see.

Overall: Minus the happy-people-yay feature, it might work. The information on the bottom needs to be more emphasized though. I don't particularly like this design as it now stands.

First Impression: "Whoa, what is going on here?" There is too much going on.

- One thing that both Design One and Three share is the little flag symbol with 1693 on it. LOVE IT. Please try to include that in whatever design you ultimately choose. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to use that as some sort of eye-catcher at the top, as opposed to a final touch at the bottom. Regardless, I love have the symbol. :D
- It was a nice attempt at innovation, I guess?

- The pictures are overwhelmingly noticeable, to the point where I have difficulty finding the menu.I also found it too hard to make myself read the tiny print on each picture.
- I think the black background is too dark. The green of the other two Designs is much more pleasant.
- The William and Mary symbol in the middle needs to POP. I only noticed right before I closed out of the window. It's barely there and that's not good.
- Where is the menu bar?! It's buried, aaaah! SUBSTANCE LACKING!

Overall: This needs so much work, I say just toss it out. It's too "busy." Clean and simple, please.

Last Thoughts: I vote for number one. Simple, but does the job. And it is a huge improvement over our current website.

I do appreciate all of the hard work! And more importantly, I REALLY REALLY REALLY appreciate allowing us students to provide input! Greatly!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for keeping us informed. I'd like to vote for option one because it is the easiest to use and most striking.

Anonymous said...

I prefer concept one because it easy to navigate and best represents the school.

Anonymous said...

Number 1 is my favorite by far. It is classy but still modern - it has a fun look to it, while still retaining the necessary classiness of a college web site. It also seems user-friendly.

Number 2 is too boring.

Number 3 is just too much. It doesnt seem like a college web site, and it just doesnt say William and Mary to me.

Anonymous said...

Definitely # 1. 2 is awful with the people's faces in black and white, and they're stupid quotes, just awful. 3 looks to spacey and not william and mary ish at all. 1 is by far the best, a clean update, still looks classy. And thank goodness you're using the old style font for the William and Mary logo and cipher, and not the horrible new logo.

Anonymous said...

I like number two the best. I think the others were too busy and distracting.

Anonymous said...

This is another vote for #2. I actually like the more subdued colours of the images and it's cleaner than the other options. I like design #3's landing page, but don't care for the layout with the four photos on the splash page. Design #1 is too busy, in my opinion, and I don't care for the way the navigation links run through the image.

Anonymous said...

I like #2 the best. It's classy and organized, and looks really clean and professional. #1 is a close second, especially if, as they say, the background picture will rotate (I HATE the picture of TJ). Number #3 is just awful, ugly, distracting, and looks like it was made by an amateur with a pirated copy of photoshop. Please. That is hardly the website we want representing our great school.

Anonymous said...

Design 1:
"America's newest old school"? That sounds pathetic and desperate. Who do you think you are trying to impress? Attractive, easy to read layout, although I agree with previous comments about wasted space at the top. Not having to scroll down is a plus. The little "impact" rectangle is distracting.

Design 2:
More formal, looks too much like what we already have. PLEASE get rid of the "students/ parents/ alumni" etc bar. It's pointless and stupid. You can't predict what section of the site someone needs to see.
The student quotes are...interesting (not what I would have said), but half a page of faces is better suited to an admissions brochure, not the official homepage.

Design Three:
Nice, but the huge pictures suggest not enough substance. Again with the having to scroll down to see everything.
The admissions page is ok too - green and orange color scheme is a little off though. Student blogs?? Why? How? What will they say? Will they just brag about how awesome they are and how much admissions loves them?

Overall, I am curious about the "Contact us" link. To whom does that go? It's pretty hard to just compose a generic email to "the college," unless you have some grievance you want to air.

"Employment opportunities" are consistently listed at the bottom of the page. I hope that link will appear elsewhere, or it might get overlooked.

Anonymous said...

I prefer #1 of the 3 choices given.

tenshirei said...

Two is best. Three was going somewhere, but One was horrible and made me very upset. Don't like the typefaces used on two, though; it still needs some work.

Christine said...

I like #3 the best (even though I do have to scroll to see it all), then 1, then 2. All are much better than the current website, though. :)

Anonymous said...

I...I'm sorry, but Thomas Jefferson in sunglasses is not how I want my school to be portrayed. I've always considered us to be more classy than that. Concepts 1 and 3 remind me of a geek attempting to look 'cool'. 2 wins out of lack of other options.

Kirsten said...

I like 1 the best out of all of them I think, but I agree with the people who said some of the images are trying too hard to look cool, like the TJ in shades. 2 OK but I'd rather have pictures of the campus than of people (people pictures get outdated really quickly, as soon as styles change) and 3 is a good concept but it's kind of annoying when the first page you come to is these giant pictures, especially giant pictures that aren't very good. If you were going for the window concept (and I certainly wouldn't have picked it up if not for another comment) then you would do better to have a Swem window even if it obscures bits of the pictures.

AJ said...

I like the revised concept 1 a LOT. That has my vote!

Anonymous said...

I know I have a smaller screen resolution on my ancient laptop than most people, but on both designs 1 and 2 I had to scroll down to find the content. Having the giant pictures at the top makes it look like a magazine ad, and not a respectable college website. These designs seem to be using the website as a sales pitch and forgetting its other role as a source of information.

I'm in the minority in actually liking the third design. The text could be made a bit more noticeable, the colors and fonts tweaked a bit, etc. but the concept is fairly innovative and it works. Of course, there's no information at all on the front page, but this design is comfortable with that, unlike 1 and 2 which try to squeeze the content into the smallest space possible to make room for a big picture. I think having the pictures rotate would be too much. Better to pick four top stories for a given day and leave them in the same order for each visit to the page, maybe with a link somewhere to past stories.

In short, it needs some work, but design 3 has the potential to be both unique and usable. Designs 1 and 2 are lacking in both of those qualities.

Anonymous said...

As a web designer and a WM alumni, I prefer design two. It is clean, but still stylish. I especially like the layout of the interior page. Design 2 also is the most clear in terms of how to navigate and find whatever information you need.

Anonymous said...

Number two is just WEIRD and wouldn't make me want to go to the school. It doesn't say anything about the school, those are just random people.

Number one is kind of creepy. I think the statue with glasses idea is kind of cute, but that particular statue is all lumpy and gross looking, and the glasses are crooked and it just looks silly. Of all the clever TJ pictures out there, why would you pick that one?

Number two is the best, but not exactly dazzling.

Anonymous said...

I like number three, then number one. The second one seems too sterile, while I like the color on the third. All are leaps and bounds better than what we have now though!

Anonymous said...

2 is really nice - very clean, makes sense. 3 gives me a headache. I have no idea what's going on there.
And to the morons commenting on particular pictures/quotes: way to miss the point.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad the website is getting revamping! Thank you also for taking our comments into consideration! In all three of them I **love** that the old swirly logo is used!!

1. I really don't like the menu going through the picture. That said, I love the idea of a big picture on the first page.

2. I like this one the best even with the muted colors. If there could be some more brightness that would be good, but overall I think this is the cleanest, most straightforward of the three.

3. I like the picture idea, but the fact that you have to scroll to see it all makes it much less effective. But I *love* the inside Undergraduate Admission page. The black with subdued gold is really effective.

#2 is my favorite, but I like them all. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

concept 1 is the best.

catartist9 said...

For ease of navigation and clarity of purpose for all the features, #1 and #2 are good. #3 looks nice and interesting, but for a first-time visitor it is not completely clear what the picture boxes will take you to (individual stories? the news page? a research page?). To a casual browser such as a potential student (as opposed to someone who already knows what they want to find) anything that looks like too much effort will likely be skipped, thus defeating the purpose of trying to make it look interesting. "Obvious" may equal "bland" to some people, but it is very important for usability.

I think that as a whole, #1 is the best, but I think it could be improved by using a few aspects from the others. I really dislike the placement of the navigation bar across the middle of the header picture. It looks oddly located and busy, and may be difficult to see with some backgrounds. It may be boring, but I think the bar really should be at the top with the rest of the navigation stuff, so that it is all together and readily apparent. I like the organization of the the top of #2 and the color/style and main body layout of #1, but the "information for: please select" part, which should be at the top like in #1 and #3. Basically, I think that all the basic navigation things should be placed together at the top so that a user doesn't have to search for them.

JJ said...

I like the revised number 1. Easy to understand, stimulating but not too busy. Much better than current design.

Sara said...

I really like the revised #1 the best. For the news section, I think having pictures and a headline to draw you to the story, and then a link to take you to the full article, is better than just text.

I like the idea of #2, with the student pictures and comments, but I think it should belong in a prospective student page, not the home page.

The front page of #3 looks nice with the photos, but it reminds me of a welcome page that leads to the home page (you know, where at the bottom of the page it says skip intro).

Overall, since I am so used to the navigation of the old page, it is really important that it stays sort of the same. I know exactly where to go when I am looking for information and I think that the current navigation makes since intuitively.

Go with #1!