Bill MacKenty

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School websites and information overload

Posted in Educational Tech Design Leadership Support on 06 - December 2010 at 04:17 AM (13 years ago). 199 views.

This is in response to a query about how to approach school web design.

Finalsite, Silverpoint and Whipplehill seem to be the big players here. They all charge a premium, but have excellent design and back-end control panels. A word about design, all the companies do design beautifully. I’ve no doubt you can craft up something really nice, but these companies make world-class website design. Clean, elegant and information rich.

The issue I’ve had with these sites is keeping them up to date and current. Whipplehill especially, which is based on a really neat portal system, seems to have the right idea about ow websites should work. But without long term “web person” in your organization, and without a clear, clean connection to your LMS, how useful will your site be?

We are using silverpoint, and we love our site, love the support, and I like the in-page editing; intuitive and easy. Also, Silverpoints design process is great - they actually bring their design team to your school - instead of design taking weeks or months, it takes a week.

But we are a moodle school, and increasingly a google-docs school. So our information is fragmented across those three major systems. We have teachers using wiki’s, blogs, yadda yadda yadda - so I’m constantly looking for ways to index all the different content so people dont have to look “in 20 different places” for relevant information.

I think your question also hits a really common theme I hear in student information systems; do we roll our own, or go with an outside company? There are genuine benefits and drawbacks for each approach. As I mentioned, the support we get from silverpoint is top-notch, but the meta-issues here are how the site will stay current, and how we can make fragmented information easier to access.