When Should You Revisit Your Site’s Design?

In 2008, we launched a new website for the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia, but it’s now three years later, and some things have changed.

The expectation of a carousel or slide show on the home page, promoting multiple top “stories”—that’s changed.  The average size of a computer monitor. The rise of social media. The popularity of podcasts and the growth of iTunes University.

Most importantly, the journalism school itself has grown and changed.  There’s a more talented, more diverse pool of applicants, who have more sophisticated questions about what the school offers.  Oh, and I should add that UBC’s own overall branding requirements for individual websites changed in a pretty significant way.

Oh wait, yes, the content management system changed, too.  There was a big shift from ExpressionEngine 1 to ExpressionEngine 2.  We had to upgrade and deal with all the third-party extensions and work-arounds that were in place in order to make the three-year-old software do the wonderful things it did.

We came in and took all these changes, and looked at the new needs, came up with a plan, and then executed it.  Upgraded the server and the software.  Redesigned. Cleaned up the HTML code, and the templates.  Used the new features in the CMS to make the site editors’ job clearer and more simple.  Got rid of data that wasn’t being used, and added new functionality to allow students to get in touch with the school more efficiently.

It was a fun project, and very pleasing—pleasing results and a pleasant group of people to work with.


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