With all due respect, the problem is that we are disagreeing with the premise that this quarter’s version of the guidelines is what’s best for the University. We are now being asked to make a third round of usability, accessibility and design sacrifices in favor of visual identity. (You yourself communicated the motivation behind the “what’s on the right side” rules: “In actuality, it was just decided that Search Functionality is a more solid approach to branding than allowing units to put navigation up there.”) But a site is immediately recognizable as belonging to Cornell University, but the user was annoyed because they found it needlessly difficult to navigate, I think we have failed to do “what’s best”. Imho, the soundest approach to branding is to strike a better balance among the competing requirements.
Dear Irascible in Ithaca;
There are really two ways of approaching the effect of the Identity guidelines on your site.
The first is as a set of handcuffs. One can choose to decide that the Administration is being oppressive for the sake of it and cares not one little bit for the plight of the peasants toiling in the proverbial fields.
In this vein, one can also choose to interpret the fact that the guidelines have changed “quarterly” as a result of the whimsy of these malevolent despots. That’s what the Big Guys do, right? Make life difficult for the rest of us simply because they can? (Down with The Man!)(Subvert the Dominant Paradigm!)
The second approach is to see the guidelines as a challenge. Two challenges, really: design and functionality. In your statement above, you seem to indicate that you believe these banner–by default–sacrifice functional navigation for the sake of branding. I’d urge you to look at the following websites and explain how the navigation fails because of the banners.
And, yes, Irascible, you’re right. None of the sites listed above are in full compliance with the guidelines. They have until October 29. As do you.
Bees in the Honey
Several folks have contacted me via email noting the fact that the CSS that comes with the banner packages is actually the complete CSS for the developers’ templates. This causes numerous complications, not the least of which are conflicts with pre-existing styles.
Please feel free to cull out any “extra” CSS that is getting in the way of your own styles. Let me make note of the fact, though, that the font size in the search area of the banners is set with reference to the font size in the body style. So, if you try to pull out the identity related styles and plunk them into your own style sheets, you might wind up with weird things going on in the search area.
The fix for this depends on how you have chosen to set fonts in your own CSS. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you hit any snags.
So Long, Farewell, Amen
I’m very sorry to report that the Office of Web Communications is losing two of the key players in cornell.edu.
Ieuan Williams, Content Manager for the site, is leaving us for the bright lights of New York City. His last day at Cornell is August 31, though (thankfully!) he’s agreed to help us out remotely while we find a replacement.
Will Morris, who, for all intents and purposes is the father of cornell.edu in its present state, has already departed from our headquarters in Collegetown. As of this morning, he’s out amongst the birds on Sapsucker Woods Road. Will’s defected to the Lab of Ornithology, where he will be leading their web design team.
Both Will and Ieuan were invaluable members of the OWC team and both deserve piles of plaudits and kudos for their work on the site. I am exceptionally sorry to see them go, given my history with the site. It was a joy for me to see cornell.edu blossom from the withered state it was in during my tenure at the wheel. Both Will and Ieuan have great vision, energy, and talent.
They will be missed.