Posted by:  Jim Reische

In my last post I compared website development to a family dinner: it’s not easy trying to make everyone happy, but let’s not give up and take the kids to McDonald’s.

Today I want to stretch that family analogy a little further (sociologists and others, a quick disclaimer: I’m not advocating for a particular definition of family unit here. It’s just a moderately useful metaphor).

At some point most every parent has keened something to the effect of, “But, sweetie, I harbor the deepest affection toward you and your complementary sibling-unit to precisely the same degree!” Now, I don’t remember my folks ever adding, “…but in different ways.” But I guess they must have, because that’s the reality. I was a surly introvert brainiac misanthrope with a proclivity for tooth-rattling punk rock (see picture). My younger sister was (still is) a sociable, emotionally intuitive artsy type with Wiener Werkstätte-era aesthetic sensibilities. Why would mom and dad love us both in the same way?

And so it is with the website we’re creating for you. We care about all our audiences equally. We really, really do. But you’re all different, and we want to love you for who you are, not as interchangeable sentiment-absorption units. So we’re going to design an intriguing and distinctive outward-facing home page for our prospective students and alums because we know that’s where they go first (the work will be driven in part by data from our Art & Science studies—see page 10); and complement it with a content-rich site that satisfies our whole community’s demands for relevant, useful information. All matched with a nicely-organized array of social media that you can personalize to your heart’s content.

Creating a website is a tricky thing. If you’re inattentive it’s easy for someone to wind up feeling unloved. When building the College's new site we’re going to show everyone a lot of TLC… but in different ways that recognize each of you for who you are and how you relate to Grinnell.


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