Middlebury Design Presentation by White Whale

Thank you Jason, Tonya and Janie for our first look at what the new Middlebury website will look like. I am personally excited about the possibilities that this flexible design will give us to represent Middlebury on the web.

Also, thank you to David, Bob, Ben, Tara, Charlie, Adam, Scott and Howie for setting up and running the presentation. Great teamwork!

And thank you to everyone who attended the presentation and have been providing feedback. Please keep it coming, we want to hear what the community has to say.

3 Responses to “Middlebury Design Presentation by White Whale”

  1. Quick Disclaimer: I am of the developer kind, not the design kind.

    I think the new design is excellent. I think it is a great balance of simplicity, interactivity, and style that makes for a great launching point for Middlebury. I’m so happy to see something completely removed from the old design and structure. I’m looking forward to the progression of this design.

    1) I like the idea of the check boxes to focus the search capabilities, but the single search field in the upper right hand corner seems to fit better with the simplicity of the rest of the page. Will this be a set it and forget it feature tied to a users preference that only shows up when activated or is it always there?

    2) Will the “Midd Stories” search be able to search the full Midd Stories database or only the current subset that appears in the equalizer? It would be really great if it searched all of them and “refreshed” the equalizer based on your search.

    3) The equalizer is really great idea. I know that audio can sometimes be an annoyance, but have you thought about adding audio cues to the equalizer? I think it looks like a colorful xylophone and when I mouse over the various stories it might be cool if I get xylophone tones to indicate that each colorful bar is unique and to promote the interactive nature of the equalizer (ie. to get people to click it rather than just look at it).

    4) I don’t know how I feel about maintaining the colored borders when the equalizer opens up to display an image or to play a movie. I think it would be great if the bars initially keep their bright colors when they expand, but then they fade to black in a similar way that they fade to white when you mouse over them. Black would provide a much better viewing border for images and videos and you would still have the color from all of the other bars.

    5) I was thinking about the “never ending canvas” and it would be great if some of the images were extreme panoramic shots stitched together to expand beyond the boundary of the screen to get people to explore the never ending canvas.

    6) Kudos for the contact page easter egg. Every site has a contact page and I like that ours is creative and fresh. I also really like the idea of the google-like design changes based on an event or historical significance (ie. Breast Cancer Awareness).

    Keep up the good work.

  2. I was very impressed with the overall concept and the look & function of the main page. What a great way to show people how much is happening here – even those of us who work here!

    I will echo Helen’s concern on how much effort it may take to maintain all of this interactive content, especially as we downsize staffing levels and shift workloads around. What are the expectations?

    The one negative reaction I had was in respect to the word “Middlebury” on the main page. We are not the only Middlebury (as Helen also points out), but we are (I believe) the only Middlebury College. It comes across as somewhat arrogant.

  3. I just watched the video of the presentation so I now have a better sense of the new design and its intentions. I still lament not seeing some shot of the campus that shows our rural VT mountainous setting. I understand that the page could default to a campus scene story, but when it doesn’t there’s nothing to alert the visitor to the beauty of the campus – we could be an ugly urban concrete campus for all someone unfamiliar with Middlebury would know. Perhaps a nice scenic banner at the top above the “equalizer”. If the idea is that the home page needs to reflect the other Middlebury locations, then there could be a blended scenic that fades into the Monterrey coast or a school abroad scene. I also would prefer to see it say Middlebury College instead of just Middlebury, which is our town. Or to reflect our broader locations it could say
    Middlebury College (larger type)
    & Affiliates (smaller type)

    or some other word or phrase (“and beyond”) to indicate our base (the college) + our programs and campuses.

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