Dartmouth architecture and interface

In February 2003, Dartmouth’s Office of Public Affairs partnered with Web Publishing Services to develop an integrated template system for implementation on the top-level Dartmouth Web pages and on office and workgroup sites. Public Affairs provided editorial and design services and Web Publishing provided integration and content management support.

Web Publishing deployed the approved departmental templates via its content management system starting in the spring of 2003. Due to changes in strategic objectives during the project, Public Affairs designed and launched a new home page in August 2004.

A. Architecture

Objectives

Analyze and restructure the architecture of information within the top levels of www.dartmouth.edu

Comment: Given the strategic emphasis being placed on the College’s top-level pages, it becomes imperative that qualitative analysis based on current user data be used to determine the best structure for the site, so as to best serve a wide range of constituencies including students (current and prospective), faculty and staff, alumni, parents and peers.

Recommendation

Dartmouth architecture

B. Interface

Objectives

Improve appeal and usability of the Web interface for Dartmouth’s Front Door.

Comment: The demand for increased sophistication of the browsing experience at <www.dartmouth.edu> points to improved functionality, usability, accessibility and interface. Streaming audio and video, Web cams, virtual tours and other interactivity enhance the browser’s visit and increase and improve the channels by which the College communicates its strategic goals. Additionally, Dartmouth’s top-level sites have remained unchanged since the redesign of summer 2000. While the current graphic design of the site continues to receive high marks, a number of factors and events within the College (renewed emphasis on the Web site as a primary communications medium, the coming capital campaign) suggest strong consideration of a redesign. A graphic redesign will necessarily be informed by analysis and re-architecture, as well as recommendations on functionality and usability, as suggested above.

The two systems that follow contain four examples each, two templates for the front site and two for office sites. They were designed by Martin Grant in the Office of Public Affairs. Click on any image to view full-size screen shots.

Layout A

Front – Primary

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