I have to agree it's generally attractive, and better-looking than the
previous site. However, two things no one has mentioned yet:
Those mixed-font headlines seem worse the more I look at them. Of course,
this isn't the fault of the web team, but part of the branding requirements.
One simple problem is that the style is being imposed on every such
headline, even when it's not appropriate. This means that the person
creating the headline is forced every time to select some number of words to
format in each of two fonts, and it's quite clear that the choices are
sometimes arbitrary. The style would probably work okay if it were used
selectively (very selectively) for cases where the mixed-font style was
justified by the headline content. Unfortunately, we're hit with it story
after story. As it is, I'm pretty sure this is a design feature that is not
going to hold up well over time (and I'm talking about a pretty short time).
The MSU TALK bar on the front page also seems to me like a "What were they
thinking?" feature. We just spent all this time and money on branding to
define all of the positive attributes that we want to portray about MSU in
our communications to the public, and then what do we do? We put a bunch of
inane comments from unknown sources in a prominent spot on our home page? Am
I the only one who looks at that and thinks "high school"? I suppose this
must be the "appeal to prospective undergrads" feature.
The MSU "site" is sort of an interesting case, because it has very little
actual content of its own. Instead it's more of a portal, designed to lead
visitors to a huge number of other sites on campus. This has to be a
handicap for anyone trying to design it, because although it has to function
as a portal, you don't want it to look like one. And, you have to do this
without even any statistics about which are the most popular links, because
unlike search engines the site doesn't use pseudo-links so that the
destinations can be tracked. (Or if I'm wrong and the site does track clicks
that go elsewhere, I'd be curious how.) All in all, I think they've done a
pretty good job given the circumstances.
From: Richard Wiggins [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 4:27 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: New MSU home page -> new www.msu.edu looks great!
It's been a couple years since I served on the www.msu.edu team but if
there's one thing the Webteam learned it was that campus Webmasters tend to
seek examples to emulate more than strict written standards.
To my eye, the new www.msu.edu looks great! Going back to 1993 I was
involved one way or another in many of the launches of a new www.msu.edu,
and this one really catches the eye. Very professional looking, and
competes well with other university home pages.