On Friday, bowdoin.edu all-but-reverted to its former design, retaining certain elements of the recent redesign. See also our story on the redesign and editorial criticizing it.

From: Rob Kerr
To: all_employees; all_students
Date: Friday, October 05, 2012 7:57
Subject: Bowdoin.edu

Several weeks ago, the College launched a new homepage that was designed to create an updated look for the site and to improve functionality. Since the launch, we have carefully monitored web traffic trends and have received many, many comments and suggestions from students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Responses to the new design ran the gamut from high praise to deep dissatisfaction.

Now that the site has settled in for a few weeks, we are analyzing what we have learned. Far and away, the biggest negative reaction involves the treatment of campus news and events. Many wrote that the homepage is their primary source for finding out what’s happening at Bowdoin. They missed the full rundown of news and events that appeared on the previous homepage. Moreover, while the new site works reasonably well on a computer screen, it works less well on mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, and other smartphones. We’ve heard this feedback and we are responding. 

In considering how to make improvements and how best to fix some of the glitches in functionality, we don't believe "retrofitting" the new design is the best course. Rather than trying to alter the new design, we are going to merge the best elements of the new with popular aspects of the former site. We will be keeping the new navigation menus and will use the format of the previous homepage for news and events.

A proliferation of new devices and new channels has re-invented the way people use the web and the way it needs to be managed. Bowdoin will continue to innovate in our communications and web development strategies—to take risks, push the boundaries, and continue to strive to find new ways to reach out, inform, and engage. We will try this “step home” for awhile and continue to explore new ways to get our message and information to all of you.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and suggestions. We hope you’ll continue to send them via the web feedback form or by email to: img@bowdoin.edu.