It Has Come!

Two things.

First of all, the long-awaited web make-over is in effect as of today. Thousands of hours put into work by Middlebury faculty and staff has come into fruition, but MiddBlog wants to know: what are your opinions on the new look?

Secondly, the Middlebury Class of 2013.5 just kicked off their orientation with a dose of dosey do last night at the social space in McCullough Student Center! Their class includes 7 international students (a record!), of which one is a transfer student, and its total tally is a coincidental one-hundred and one, of which 4 American students are transfers. I also want to say that their orientation is going great so far, with the help of their busy Feb leaders from the class of 2012.5 (25 in all).

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17 thoughts on “It Has Come!

  1. Overall the look is great, but the opening page of the website seems vaguely unfinished. The lack of landscape picture misses much of the visual punch of the school and is not motivation to draw the user to explore the site further. A few tweaks are in order. Good luck!

  2. It’s quite beautiful 🙂 Compared to the former version, this one is definitely better; a lot of top universities and colleges have visually-striking websites (at least the opening page) and now, Middlebury does too! The overall outline is cleaner than before–less boring too. Good work!

  3. for all the work they supposedly spent on the opening page design, i think it is still not that intuitive or well done. When you click on one of the “bars” you shouldnt have to then click on hotlinked text below the image to get to the linked page. you should be able to just click on the image itself to go to the linked page. Also if they are using some of the “bars” to feature photos of the campus, you should be able to click on these to make them full size. Also there is no sense of order/sequence/timeline clearly displayed in either a verbal or visual manner. it should be sequential, with some sense of the date or order in which the “bar” stories appear. Finally, put a damn email link on the main page.

  4. Quicklinks on the bottom of the main page. Email /webmail right there.

    And actually, I kind of like the bars that you click open and THEN decide if you want to move to a new page vs auto going and having to load new page, back track and reload main page.

  5. my mistake about the quick links, it wasn’t functioning that way the other day. (it sent you to an internal page with those links).

    and i think you misunderstood my comment about clicking on the bars. I agree that clicking on the bar should not load a new page, but my comment was that after you click on the bar and an image with text appears, you should be able to click that image to go to the new page rather than just the hot-linked text below the image.

  6. The new website is ugly and does not celebrate the beauty of Middlebury College. How come the top of the page just has Middlebury? It is Middlebury College, and should say Middlebury College.

  7. It’s funny what people find to complain about. Even the old website NEVER said MIddlebury College.

  8. Thanks for these comments on the new Middlebury website! Since the site launch, we’ve been working to improve the site’s performance. I’ve outlined the first change here: http://blogs.middlebury.edu/lis/2010/02/08/website-improvements-1/ which reduces the load time of the homepage from 12-15 seconds to 2-3 seconds, most of which is loading external tracking information in the footer.

    I’ve also changed the list of stories so that if a story has a link in its content, you can click on the image and be brought to that page. Thanks for the suggestion to do this, ‘w’.

    Though branding is not my department, I would like to clear up something about the word Middlebury vs Middlebury College on the home page. The original site from 1995-1997 used Middlebury College, the next three designs in 1998-2000, 2001, and 2002 used just Middlebury, the 2003 design used Middlebury College with the seal, the 2004-2007 design used just the words Middlebury College, for two weeks in August, 2007 it was Middlebury with a new logo, and since then it has just been Middlebury.

    So, for seven of the 15 years we’ve had a website the title was Middlebury College, but it was just Middlebury for the other eight.

  9. I like it, but it is still missing a lot of pages I need to look at. Does anyone know how to access the old version?

  10. We’re not publicly releasing the URL of the old site, as it’s not meant to be official college info anymore (just an archive for reference for site designers & editors). However, if there are pages you cannot find, go to the web feedback form and offer suggestions or ask questions. Or ask a member of the team (like Ryan or me) and we should be able to help.

  11. So, all archived information like, 2009-10 Common Data Sets are no longer available? The broken links to old pages are intended?

    You can search for different files, and you can find they exist since they show up in search, but when you follow the link you land on a 401 page error. This is intended?

  12. The 2009-10 Common Data Sets are available here: http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/administration/planning/ir/data/cds

    The search right now is not working because Google hasn’t fully re-crawled our site and the search results are being returned from their search engine. This is taking longer than we had anticipated to occur – it only took a couple days for the Monterey site to be re-crawled when we launched that in August. I’ll be working tomorrow on several ways we can help this along and hopefully the search results will be working no later than the end of the week.

  13. Yes, one of the most common complaints so far has been the “missing pages” in search. Fear not, we should reiterate that, as Ian mentions above, Google has not yet re-indexed the site. That normally takes a solid week or more. So be patient.

  14. The best is yet to come if a blog and twitter are well integrated. I hope the students make it take off.

  15. You know, I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here… but this is awful.

    There is nothing about this new Web site that says “Middlebury.” There are no visuals on the front page that capture the fact that we have one of the most beautiful locations in the country. There is nothing that immediately gives you a sense of the activity and life on campus through visuals. You have a bunch of colored bars – and you have to hover or click on them to find any of this information. I’d love to know the click thru rates on these, because I’d imagine they don’t get any attention.

    In addition, there are so many gimmicks that are a waste of time and slow the page down. The scrolling headers on the second-tier pages (like Admissions, Academics, etc.) are painfully slow when moving. You don’t even know they are there if you don’t spend several seconds hovering, since there is no arrow or marker to show you that there is content on each side.

    This is a classic case of a design firm designing to fit their desires, not those of users. Didn’t Middlebury just go through this with the awful logo (maple leaf/Mr. Sneeze/etc.) redesign? Geez, will we ever learn?

  16. I haven’t fully explored the new website but so far it looks like an improvement over the old one which I found very staid. However, what I’ve really wanted Middlebury to produce is an admissions video featuring students, professors, etc. that really gives a feel for the school and in essence, sells it. In my children’s college search, two that really stood out were done by Swarthmore and Carleton. Is this something that is in the works?

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