Web Evolution Program in progress....

Welcome, McGill community members!

McGill's Digital Communications Team (a division Communications & External Relations) and Web Services Group (a division of IT communications) are pleased to jointly announce the launch of McGill's Web Evolution Program: a redesign of the WMS platform, beginning with McGill's homepage.

Our goal is to:

Thank you for taking this journey with us--we look forward to working with you!


Project update:

December 2019 - Now available! Web Evolution Program-related resources for the McGill community

We're excited to share details about new tools and resources for McGill community members! These tools and resources were recently featured in two presentations at McGill's downtown and Macdonald campuses.

Topics covered in the presentations included:

*Information about our new Design system for websites will be available online in the coming weeks.

Thanks again, and please continue following our progress on this site.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

Previous updates

March

Mar 25/2019 - We're live!

The Web Evolution Program team is thrilled to announce that the new McGill Homepage is now live! You can read more about it in The Reporter.

We want to thank all of the community members who have participated in the redesign process, followed our presentations, and provided feedback in-person or through our webform. Your insights and questions helped us build a better experience for key external audiences while supporting the needs of the McGill community.

We’d like to emphasize that the homepage will continue to evolve over time. We expect to continue refining the content and features over the coming weeks and months, including reviewing user data and following up on the questions in our post-launch testing plan.

Aside from these ongoing optimizations, we’re also planning some substantial updates to the aesthetic design later this year. This will align the new homepage with the results of the University’s rebranding exercise.

Thanks again, and please continue following our progress on this site.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

Mar 5/2019 - Ready, set, launch!

It's official—McGill's newly redesigned homepage will launch March 25th!

Want a sneak preview? We invite you to explore our new homepage staging site. We would also appreciate you letting us know how you've felt about our process and approach to this project by completing a brief survey.

Stay tuned, and (as always!) feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments, or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

February

Feb 18/2019 - Are we there yet?

If you’re wondering when the new homepage is going to launch, the answer is “very soon!” We’re very excited to launch the new homepage and share it with the world (or at least, the 6 million or so people that visit our homepage each year).

But if you’re wondering when the homepage will be done, the answer is “probably never!” Launching the new homepage is a major milestone, but it’s only the first step in collecting fresh ideas about how to make the homepage (and McGill.ca experience as a whole) better.

For more than 6 months, we’ve been trying to gather as much data as possible to help us understand the opportunities and impact we could have with a new homepage. That information was incredibly helpful in identifying an overarching strategy and helping us define our goals, audience needs, and feature set. Now that we have a completely new vision for the homepage, we’re excited to get a fresh infusion of real-life use data to evaluate (and elevate) our work.

We’re also looking forward to the results of McGill’s (in progress) rebranding exercise, which will most certainly change the aesthetic of the homepage. The rebranding work will also give us the inputs we need to begin updating the look and feel of all McGill’s digital platforms.

Thanks for following along, and we invite you to explore our new homepage staging site. We would also appreciate you letting us know how you've felt about our process and approach to this project by completing a brief survey. Stay tuned, and (as always!) feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments, or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team
 

December

Dec 17/2018 - It's Production Time!

We’ve officially moved into the production phase of our project: the new homepage is in development and already looks very close to the mobile-format mockups. Our team (and our colleagues) are mobilizing to get content created, menus translated, features tested, and design directions filled out for more browser sizes and use cases.

At this point, we’ve got a clear vision (literally and figuratively speaking) for the new McGill.ca, and we’re devoting all our efforts to making it a reality. This stage can be scary, because we’re committing fully to our design and content strategy. It may also seem less engaging, because we’re not presenting as many thrilling discoveries: we’re just executing our plan, based on the collaboration, research, and testing activities to date. We’re also actively documenting questions, features, and ideas to explore post-launch.

That doesn’t mean you can sit back and wait for the launch party. The homepage is a conduit for engagement with your work: The sites and pages that the menu links to. The content that the search tool indexes, evaluates, and delivers to users. The amazing stories, people, and programs that you bring to the editorial mechanism and (by extension) to the homepage.

We’re counting on you to help make the McGill.ca experience positive, meaningful, and satisfying. With that in mind, we look forward to working with you, and to the excitement we hope you’ll have for this new incarnation of the homepage. But don’t wait on us! You can get in touch with us any time to share your questions, comments, or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

November

Nov 9/2018 - Things are about to get real : we’re reaching the end of the Design Planning & User Testing phase

As we end the Design Planning & User Testing phase, we’re leaving behind the open-ended, abstract, and hypothetical exercises that helped us plan the new homepage:

- The research, stakeholder interviews and data crunching that helped us define our audience and mandate
- The benchmarking and brand alignment work that resulted in our basic design elements
- The brainstorming and sketching exercises around wireframing and content strategy
- The proposed mockups and the prototype we used to communicate and test our ideas for the complete homepage

These exercises provided us with the information needed to set clear goals, draft a response to those goals, and test our approach. Now that we have those results, we can revise our mockups, menu architecture, and production plan based on the feedback from real users. We look forward to sharing a list of those revisions, and to the more detailed (and official) mockups we’ll be sharing and building out in the Production phase.

That doesn’t mean we’ve entirely left curiosity and flexibility behind. Even with our test results, we know that we’ll need more data in order to decide if (and how) to improve the user experience in certain areas. We also know that our live site will reach a larger and more diverse audience than we could test with in advance.

But as the Design Planning & User Testing phase comes to a close, we have the confidence to dive into the exciting work of turning flat pictures and notes into a real live website. We hope that you share the excitement – and the confidence! – we feel as we move into the Production phase of the project. To that end, we encourage you (as always) to get in touch with any questions, comments, or concerns about the project.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

October

4 Oct/2018 - The McGill.ca homepage is getting a refresh!
The Web Services Group and Communications and External Relations' Digital Communications team are redesigning the McGill homepage to give it a more targeted approach and a fresh look. The project officially began over the summer, when we took a deep dive into all the information we could gather about the needs of homepage visitors and the usage patterns on the current homepages.

We reviewed market research, Google Analytics data, Hotjar heatmaps and user interaction videos, and case studies of other websites and institutions. In parallel, we interviewed strategic decision-makers and communications experts from around the university to better understand their goals, challenges, and pain points. We determined that a single homepage that communicates the McGill brand, values, research strengths and impacts would do the best job of promoting our communications and recruitment activities as a whole.

The homepage plays a critical role as a first impression of McGill for many audiences, and it should help visitors to find and engage with the McGill content most relevant for their needs. The homepage is also a handy jumping-off point for McGill community members, who use the links to internal services like institutional email or Minerva.

The redesign team is now working on the underlying features of the homepage (ex. an improved search tool!) and its design (including layout and branding elements). For a complete overview of the work we've done to date, have a look at our recent presentation of the project's progress. In the coming months, we'll be creating a mobile-format prototype of the site and testing it with members of our target audiences.

Sincerely,

The Web Evolution Program Team

Back to top