Higher Ed Web Redesign, Part 5: Battling Entropy

Well, the site has officially launched, and that’s when I started writing this post (nearly two months ago…sorry for the neglect, blog!)

Although, in all honesty (and not just excusing my laziness in posting throughout January), it’s been good to have some time to distance myself from the launch, the immediate reaction, and to gain the perspective time provides. We’ve gained loads of feedback via different mediums for our various constituencies, and I’m happy to say that it’s been 95% positive. The new features for students are proving helpful and popular, and the information we can pull on prospects show that, compared to the past few years, they’re able to get to the program pages more quickly and hitting on the main calls to action (I’m hesitant at this early stage to claim that we’re seeing increased applications, but so far, we’re trending up).

The reaction from employees isn’t quite as ebullient.

Most of the negative feedback revolves around the decision to host internal content on our intranet (craziness, right!) instead of publicly available. We’re also instituting some pretty major changes when it comes to content governance…or rather, we’re actually able to stick to stricter guidelines governing content. By revising the management structure and having these guidelines written and readily refer-able, we can push back against some of the more inane or inconsistent requests that have come in. We’re not denying a lot of requests, per say, but when an employee wants a page listing a bunch of links to internal resources, we need to push back.

It might sound like a weird thing to have to battle, but the previous web structure had some faulty beams, so to speak, where a single person frequently created and pushed out pages, web forms, graphics, etc without consultation with anyone else and without recording the work completed. In this way, the website became a weird sort of overgrown garden, full of duplicate information (with both the navigation under Future Students and Current Students–….don’t get me started…–basically mirrored each other).

Entropy is lack of order or predictability or a gradual decline into disorder…kind of the perfect term to appropriate for this part of the redesign project. Battling entropy is the constant struggle of content folk, but it’s the price of caring.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s