There has been quite a bit of positive reaction to the design. I believe the comments tell us that we are headed in the right direction. I wish that we could put the entire site in front of you now–it would answer a lot of the questions that you raise. For example,
Q “I think the picture used in the background of the red bar at the top of the site should be continually rotated among a bunch of pictures to keep the site fresh.”
A The images in the header do rotate through many examples of Cornell’s architectural details.
Q?”…but like 60 different pictures of the same caliber and feel and brightness and that sort of thing that the server uploads according to the time or something.”
A Within the first month of the site’s launch there will be around 80 pictures that rotate through the home page. Though we are starting with student pictures, there will be more images in the future of campus views, architecture, and our local landscape.
Q?”I don?t see any space for the images of our beautiful campus, and I think there should be some.”
A There are currently hundreds of images in the site, many of which depict the campus. And as I said above, the home page will include the campus in its “campaign space” after launch.
Q?”A link to CUinfo on the home page.”
A Currently on the bottom of each page.
Q?”…We have many more facilities all over the world than just in Ithaca, NY, and Doha such as Arecibo and Shoals. Why are these not on the map?”
A We have developed a map that shows Cornell in the world. You just have to wait to see it. Also, Arecibo, Shoals, Cornell in Washington, the Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, and Cornell in Rome will appear in greater detail–they are featured along side the Cornell’s “major campuses”.
Q?”Visually, Cornell?s architecture, better and worse, and its setting are distinctive, so please drop those boring and fungible student photos.”
A Please excuse our use of actual Cornell University students in this design. We are in the process of trying to find some USC students.
Seriously, on the design derivation issue, I have to weigh in. I must say that I am a bit disappointed in the level of design criticism from a few of our readers. Looking a bit deeper into WPG’s long design history would reveal the following sites:
Alumni and Friends Library Access (2002) http://alumni.library.cornell.edu/
The Education Department (2003) http://www.education.cornell.edu/
BioMedical Engineering Program (2003) http://www.bme.cornell.edu/
JSL Inauguration Site (2003) http://www.inauguration.cornell.edu/
For each of these you’ll note the navbar at the top, big pictures in the middle and 3 column approach (aside from the Inauguration site) in the lower third of the page. All of these were done before the USC site was released. During the initial design phase of this project, we spent a great deal of time looking at a large number of sites, including USC and Harvard. We agree that USC has a great university web site. And they should be proud of it. Still, the new Cornell site is no more a rip off of the USC site or Harvard site than these sites are indebted to Cornell’s Alumni and Friends Library Access site.
Here’s what took the cake: “Guess you get what you pay for. From what I understand, the designers are untrained. To be derivative is to be expected.”
A note: I will put up the work of Cornell’s Web Production Group against any design team anywhere. I spent from 1998-2003 helping to grow this team. This is their first crack at designing the cornell.edu site, and I believe that you as a community are going to be very happy with the results. Not just for this upcoming release, but for the releases over the next 3 years.
A request: Please consider the work and dedication of the staff at Cornell before you fire off remarks that may be flippant about their life’s work. We must work together as a community to improve our communications efforts.
It is important to be able to exercise the freedom to critique and to be critical, but please balance this freedom with the responsibility of maintaining a cordial and professional atmosphere. It will help everyone to focus on the task at hand.
And with that, back into the fray! Thank you all for participating in this incredible conversation.
- Thomas Richardson, Cornell Director of Web Communications