Web Redesign Project

Preview of Concordia.ca
Preview of the Concordia.ca redesign before usability testing.

While on contract at Concordia University replacing a staff leave, I successfully led a major redesign of Concordia.ca, consolidated several websites, managed newsletters and launched a social media plan. I coordinated projects and updates for web designers, and sought out projects that needed development. I co-authored functional requirements for a content management system. I supported change with qualitative methods (usability tests, feedback) and quantitative methods (analytics, competitive analysis).

Besides a new look created by the lead designer and new content developed by our team, there was an important change in usability. A simple and consistent top level navigation was implemented across many sites. Other page elements such as mega menus, breadcrumbs, left navigation, sidebars, slideshows, and footers were implemented or simplified.

As mentioned I implemented a social media program across several departments. I authored a handbook, a playbook, blogged, monitored using Radian6, provided guidance during many public crises, facilitated and trained groups. I helped double engagement across social media accounts.

Site redesign credits in the University Communications Services department:
Lucy Niro – Director, Web Communications
Matthew Burpee – Webmaster and Coordinator (replacement), Web Communications
Simon Horn – Webmaster and Coordinator (on leave), Web Communications
Christopher Alleyne – Lead Creative, Design
Mathieu Price – Web Designer, Web Communications
David Smith – Web Designer, Web Communications
Terry Rybak – Junior Web Designer, Web Communications
Kirsten Cameron – Web News Editor, Web Communications

Innovation with syndication

Web marketers may start thinking this year more about information hubs rather than websites. For example, Amazon.com is now letting others use its database in novel ways. If you search for a title in Amazon Light you can also see if the title is available in libraries such as Ryerson’s (see Library button on right after Amazon Light search). Sharing data is starting to become a competitive advantage. More: technologyreview.com, 1/2005

A log about blogs

The world’s first home page acted similar, I feel, to what we now call a blog.

Tim Berners-Lee originally invented the web and the page concept so researchers could simply share timely information via hypertext. After the .com explosion, the concept of a home page has come to mean something different than the web’s beginnings. Blogging, small as it is, is perhaps a return to and an extension of the web’s founding concepts, and the Internet’s social networking and knowledge sharing role. I was asked recently about blogs. Below are two recent articles I enjoyed.

“Every day, millions of online diarists, or “bloggers,” share their opinions with a global audience. What began as a hobby is evolving into a new medium that is changing the landscape for journalists and policymakers alike. – Daniel W. Drezner, Henry Farrell, “Web of Influence“, Foreign Policy, November 2004.

Interconnecting human emotions and emotional response is one topic in Kate Baggott’s “Show Me Your Context, Baby: My Love Affair with Blogs”, The Globe and Mail, June 2004. Kate has coined the interesting new word “mediamenschen” or media human. When in Germany, speak deutschglish. Ich bin ein mediamenschen. Sounds catchy. Danke Kate.

Blogs are also an excellent way to establish a point of personal contact between an organization and its publics. Members from organizations ranging from U of T to the Government of Canada to Microsoft and Fast Company Magazine are using blogs as effective marketing tools and as knowledge bases. Blogs can help people feel like they know you and trust your organization. There are many uses of weblogs in higher education. Yet blogging can also be hazardous. Blogging for/in organizations is clearly a growing topic.