The New CMC.edu
On Wednesday, June 1st, Claremont McKenna College launched an updated version of its website. The new site, still reachable at www.cmc.edu, replaced the old site in its entirety. It includes a number of new features but still provides resources such as a faculty directory and access to student email.
The change marks a big step in a long process of updating the web presence of the college.
The most obvious change is the welcome page, a page absent from the old site. This pre-home page (which the user is first directed to) features a central image and a number of “gateways,” each linking to a different part of the site. Also included is a large “Discover CMC” button, linking to the completely redesigned homepage. Richard Rodner, Associate Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at CMC said the central image on the page will change routinely.
The purpose behind the welcome page, and of the redesign in general, Rodner told the Forum, is to help CMC stand out among its peers.
“In benchmarking many other college websites, it was clear that—with few exceptions—they all looked very similar in structure and visual design,” said Rodner. “We wanted to significantly differentiate CMC’s new website.”
Anthony Fisher, the project’s head designer, agreed with that sentiment. “No one is doing this. We wanted to do something totally different,” said Fisher, in reference to the welcome page and other aspects of the site.
Mr. Fisher also emphasized the many roles of the website, which he thinks does a better job of delivering information and content to the college’s many audiences—including prospective students. “The new website is not only about design. It is about bringing a shift in how we present Claremont McKenna College and about making sure our online brand showcases the quality of our students, alumni, faculty and staff.” he told the Forum.
So far, responses from students have been mixed. Kevin Burke ’11, posted a pointed critique of the site on his personal blog. Burke, who has experience with web design and coding, writes: “while the new design is flashy, it's not clear that it became more usable, which is disappointing.” Burke also refers to the welcome page as “a mess." Other students have praised the change. Jesse Blumenthal ’11 wrote to his Twitter followers on June 2: “NEW: www.cmc.edu is a huge improvement over the old site.”
Although the new site went live on June 1, some aspects of the site are yet to be completed. Because department pages will be designed using input from respective departments, some pages may not be completed until the end of the summer. The mobile version of the site has yet to be launched and some technical issues are still being resolved as well.
Both Rodner and Fisher said that student input would continue to be important in the design of site. “There will always be challenges, perspectives, ideas, likes and dislikes to address, but this new website is a new beginning for CMC that I hope we can all embrace,” Fisher said.
However, the site will continue to evolve. Mr. Fisher says of the site, “Stay tuned.”