College hires Digital Pulp to redesign current website
By Clifton Lyons
Published on Wednesday, May 16, 2012
After serving as the online face of the College since 2006, the current Dartmouth website is being redesigned by award-winning website design company Digital Pulp.
The website design team held a forum yesterday for the Dartmouth community to discuss plans for the ninth iteration of Dartmouth’s website. Members of the project team include Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Ellen Waite-Franzen, Director of Editorial Services Sarah Memmi, Interior Director and web sources project manager Susan Lee and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris ’84.
Digital Pulp is a company devoted to web development, online commerce, strategic marketing and online and offline advertising, according to their website. Past clients have included Harvard Law School, Bloomberg, Bausch and Lomb and New York University’s Stern School of Business.
The new design intends to correct the disjointedness of various components of the current website, according to Digital Pulp Creative Director Dean Lewis. The design team faces the challenge of developing a website template that will effectively unify the various parts of campus that form the Dartmouth community and, ultimately, the Dartmouth experience, he said. The new website aims to convey that Dartmouth is a unique community and more than just a collection of schools, according to Lewis.
“There are lots of voices across campus which connect to provide a unique learning environment,” he said. “However, the current layout gives the impression that no one communicates with one another. What constitutes Dartmouth as a whole is very disparate.”
Students said they find the current website cumbersome to use.
“The current website is not easy to navigate, and it is hard to find information on deadlines,” Julie Ocampo ’14 said.
The College’s website does not stand up when compared to those of institutions of a similar caliber, according to computer science major Andrew Hannigan ’13.
“There is no centralized structure to the website,” Hannigan said. “It’s just this amorphous blob that keeps on growing without any sort of direction.”
Hacker Club captain Galen Pospisil ’13 said the current site is “outdated,” and he expressed a desire for a more unified layout.
“I am hoping that the new website will have a more unified presence connecting student organizations, professors, etc. under one Dartmouth brand,” Pospisil said.
The new design will provide a guide for visitors to follow that will easily lead them to whatever resources they need, including events calendars and campus maps, according to Lewis.
At the forum, Lewis outlined the process for designing the new website. First will come a period of “discovery,” during which information about Dartmouth will be gathered that will eventually be turned into website content, after which the basic site architecture will be developed. Next, a “unique, creative” design will be applied, followed by a development stage in which Digital Pulp will translate the content into code. Finally, there will be an official launch of the website and marketing for its promotion. No time frame has been established, as work on the website is still in its early stages.
All 2,100 sites that comprise the Dartmouth database will not be redesigned individually, but Digital Pulp will instead create a template that all of the sites can use to enhance continuity, according to Lewis.
A large focus of the redesign is on providing easy accessibility to resources for prospective students and their families, Lewis said.
“We want the website to provide a more holistic representation of the Dartmouth experience,” he said. “Right now, the disjointed website forces students to choose an experience. Instead, we want a prospective student to have an understanding of the entire Dartmouth experience.”
Another website redesign forum for the Dartmouth community will be held Wednesday at 10 a.m. in Haldeman 041.