Iterative Design: Meliora Meets the Homepage

A little more than three years ago, in September of 2008, a new redesign of the University’s homepage was launched.

screenshot of homepage

That redesign was 11 months in the making and represented a complete overhaul of the homepage it replaced. And that homepage –

screenshot from older homepagelaunched in 2006 — was itself a complete overhaul of the site that came before it.

The trend in Web design however is away from these months-long redesign projects and toward what is referred to as “iterative design” or “progressive enhancements.” Happily we are no stranger to this philosophy at the UofR, and we have an even better name for it: Meliora, Ever Better.

Over the last few weeks, we have been marking several special occasions on our homepage, beginning with the 10th anniversary of September 11, and continuing with the YellowJackets appearances on The Sing-Off, Meliora Weekend, the Meliora Challenge kick-off, Halloween, and our popular Photo Fridays. For these special editions we found that having a more flexible homepage that didn’t require a photo of a specific size for example, or a fixed sidebar, came in very useful for keeping us nimble and responsive.

Today marks the beginning of a month-long beta period for the homepage in which we’ve incorporated some of the enhancements we’ve made to accommodate these special homepages into our everyday Web presence. During the month of November, we’ll be conducting usability tests with students, faculty, and staff (and prospective students, ideally) writing regular blog posts describing some of the changes, and gathering feedback.

Please use this blog to let us know what you think.



Lori Packer, Michael Osadciw, Mike Jones, Dawn Wendt
Web Team
University Communications