Saturday, April 28, 2007

I was predisposed, by a Daily Egyptian editorial, against the new SIUC website, but I found many things to like about it. First, the pictures that keep coming at you, on the right, are gentle and pleasant, and give you a good feeling about the place. That is much better than the old page, which had no feeling like that. That kind of feeling is extremely important to prospective students, especially prospective internationals- and I realize that they are not the only people using the site. Second, though many people found the news feed, a little scroll in the corner, tacky, it's not even on my opening screen, and I don't see it until I've explored the site a little; by then, I don't mind. Third, the site begins to use simple & bold, against texture, finally, rather than be all detail that you can't focus on. Finally, from what I can tell, SIUC administrators are beginning to ask people what they think, and incorporating their suggestions. Good move!

On the other side, I'll just mention a few things. First, the St. Patrick's effect: the two maroons don't go together. Your poor designer is like the rest of us, doesn't have access to the maroon code of the university's main block logo. My suggestion: try pink, gray, or anything else. Maroons that are too similar are like a room of different greens. Second, I'm out of web design a little, but when your page is bigger than most people's screens, those screens will cut off part of it- in my case, the last third of each picture, cut off on the right. I'm fairly typical, unfortunately. Lots of people are getting abridged versions of nice photography, and it's not pretty- some will see even less than I do. Third, a constantly moving screen makes your eye travel- away. In my case, directly to the "Give Now" from which it fled in horror. I give with my blood. My point is that I felt, at first, like a hare with no place to turn- is there some place where I can relax and enjoy the view? If not, I'll be moving along, like most visitors; the hand on the back button will take care of it.

I don't know how well it navigates- a much more critical question, especially for our internationals- but I definitely rate it higher than the folks at the DE. It's getting better. Keep up the good work!

By the way, my standards are now based against the website of University of Kansas, a site that I use because of a son attending, which even in its interior is elegant, simple, Googlish in its lightness and bold primary colors playing against each other. I recommend it, recommend a tour of it as if you were looking around, trying to find a transcript or something. Do what people usually do, wading around looking for something specific that's deep in the middle of it. I do believe, we could have light, bold, basic, elegant, through every page, even with maroon and gray/silver as our colors. It's not impossible. And of course, not every word has to be in one of those colors! There's a whole palette to choose from- and some of them give you a good feeling.



At 9:47 AM, Anonymous The KU Web Staff said...

Thanks for the compliment, Tom!


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