How a House is Like a Website

Right now, William & Mary's website has a lot in common with an old house that has been added on to by several generations: the plumbing's old, the wiring doesn't work quite as it should, it's impossible to find things, and it looks - well, a little dingy. It doesn't fit us anymore, and it's falling apart. Time to move on. We've decided to start from scratch and build a new web home. As several earlier posts have pointed out, this project is a lot like building a house:

House Web Site
Lot and Driveway Servers, Firewall, Connectivity
Floorplan, Structure Information Architecture
Plumbing, Wiring, Closet Organizers Content Management System
Paint, Carpets, Lighting Site Design
Furniture, Pots, Pans, Books, Clothing Content

As conscientious, capable, and thrifty home owners, we will be involved with every step of construction. Our lot is graded and can support any structure our architects can devise. Under the guidance of the architect and building contractor, we will be installing and building large sections of the site. Once the site is up and running, we will be doing the maintenance ourselves.

The consulting firm mStoner will serve as an architect and designer. Their job is to draw up some blueprints, advise us on different building contractors (more on that in a minute), and come up with some design schemes for the more public areas of our new home. We recently completed a series of meetings where mStoner learned the basics of who we are and what we do so they can design a site that meets our needs. They are working on the first set of plans now.

A Content Management System is a software product that is used, well, to manage content. It makes the creation, management, and sharing of individual web pages easier. There are many companies developing commercially available content management systems. I'm thinking of them as building contractors. Right now, the web team is interviewing these contractors and inspecting their work to find the one that will work the best with our structure and content.

Ah, yes - content. William & Mary has approximately 400 individuals who are in charge of the information presented on our web site. It's like having 400 individual rooms filled with furniture, books, clothes, etc. When our new home is built, all that content will need to be moved into the new space. Remember, a house is not a home without content.

That, in a nutshell, is what the re.web project is about. We are building a new home for all of our information. The new home will work better, be easier to live in, and easier to maintain than our old one. We'll be able to find things again. Guests will feel welcome. Building a web home takes as much work, as many people and as much time as building a brick-and-mortar one, but the results will be well worth it.

No comments: