stmarysmenston.org school website redesign 2012

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  • Our school's website stmarysmenston.org was redesigned in October 2012.
    It was a big project that lasted 17 months for me from initial planning to the launch (the content strategy took the majority of the time).
  • The fixed-width site is a single column so it looks good on both iPad and big, wide monitors
  • The moving HTML banner is made in Tumult Hype and is very popular with our users as it shows new content updates.
    The Sharepoint 2010 site contains no Adobe Flash.
  • We used the work of professional photographers to give each page an impressive 960px wide title (often retina sharpness). The big photos are one of my favourite things about our site, because they give more of an insight into our school than smaller photos. There are over 100 of these titles and 300 further photos on the site pages.
  • Many of the images are retina 2x resolution and are very sharp on retina displays (such as the logos on the Our Awards page). It doesn't seem to make the site slow. 
  • The news is updated almost everyday - the stories have photos and links to other websites and the local media, who often carry our press releases.
  • I wrote the content for the majority of the pages. It is rare for a comprehensive school built in the 1960s to have a History section (usually only private schools have a recorded History) so I enjoyed writing it.
  • I like the pure blue colour of all the links because they stand out against the black text. Many of the PDFs have a thumbnail.

  • The navigation is clear. There are no confusing vertical menus, only a horizontal menu.
    The site map is also clear and links to every pageo on the site.
  • We often use embedded YouTube videos from our YouTube channel to celebrate our pupils' success.
  • The information about our school is very clear compared to other school websites. For example, it can be hard to find pupil numbers on their sites.
  • I noticed when working on the site there is a big overlap with my display work - this 're-purposing' of content has led to increased efficiency for me as a designer. For example, the content on our Sports Day display board was able to be turned into a web page quickly.
     
    The new site is a success and has been praised by the Senior leaders, governors, staff, pupils at our school as well as our suppliers.
     
    The aims of the website have all been achieved:   
           ⁕ Promote our Catholic values
           ⁕ Further teaching and learning
           ⁕ Celebrate pupil achievement
           ⁕ Serve our school community
           ⁕ Be an impressive information resource
           ⁕ Link to our Twitter and YouTube social media channels
           ⁕ Offer communication links with the wider community (our website links to over 200 organisations St.  
               Mary's work with)
     
    There are still many sections, features and refinements planned to be added as the website is further developed in the future.