07 December 2002

Web Woes

Once upon a time, the Philosophy Department at La Salle University set up a website for its department, with the help of a student. But that student graduated and the website remained, badly out of date, with increasing amounts of wrong information, having clunky navigation, and being an all around eyesore.

Shift forward to 2002. I'm now the chair of the "web committee" for the department and the University has decided it would like all departments to update their websites, adopt a more uniform appearance using the school colors (blue and gold), and including the university logo. Moreover, the individual departments will have little direct control over their websites. And Philosophy, since we're the only department to actually have a web committee, gets to be the guinea pig.

Thus the process began. We were consulted. We made recommendations. We looked at some sketches. And the web people at the University came up with this as our basic template.

Hmmm. I'm not that impressed. And they want my opinion.

So, all of you out there--some of whom have very good design sensibilities--tell me why I am less that satisfied. What is wrong with this design? What would you suggest? How can this be improved upon? Tim? Valerie? Emeth? Others?

Since I'm one of those, "If you want something done right, do it yourself" kind of people, I plan on making up several alternate templates over the next several days, in order to send back to the appropriate authorities. Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Update 12/7: Okay, so this is my first shot at an alternative template. It was a bit of a rush job. More to follow. Revised: I kept the first version, but here's a second version of this template.

Update 12/8: I'm really not much a web designer, but here's another attempt at a template. One more to follow. Revised: I shrunk the image a bit and spread out the menu options.

Update 12/9: Yet another template. This one is more minimalist. Revised: I placed an image behind the navigation menu.

Update 12/10: Another design, quick and fairly bland.

Update 12/11: A final attempt.