As I read an interview with Brain Traffic's CEO Kristina Halvorson, her words rang as clear as Prince William and Kate's wedding bells.
"One big mistake companies make is they are undertaking projects like creating web apps or mobile websites that are separate from the rest of their online initiatives. It's really very important that all content is created for all platforms and to let it evolve over time regardless of what context the user is in. The first thing would be not to consider your mobile content a separate project. Mobile really forces you to look at what's important which makes mobile is a great place to start when creating content because there is less space and it forces you to deal with what's most important. Smart content that can be distributed across many channels. Keeping your mobile strategy separate is a mistake."
I couldn't have said it any better. So, this brings me to the third objective of the umn.edu home site redesign:
Increasing usability and support for mobile devices
University Relations is partnering with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to develop its mobile approach in conjunction with the launch of the home page. For starters, we worked with OIT to develop an executive overview outlining the objective, strategies, and goals.
Provide an optimized mobile experience for all visitors and establish m.umn.edu or mobi.umn.edu or mobile.umn.edu as a gateway to the University of Minnesota.
* Redesign and improve websites with consideration for presentation/organization for both desktop and mobile devices
* Increase collaboration with campuses and units
* Reduce duplication of effort and increase re-purposing of content
* Follow project management best practices
* Integrate technology and communications strategy for mobile devices into a unified University approach.
* Create an infrastructure to support and extend research
* Support the University's online learning initiatives
* Position the University of Minnesota as a leader in delivering higher education communications via multiple channels
* Increase public engagement
* Provide proactively a mobile environment to all stakeholders
* Help ensure the University of Minnesota maintains a competitive advantage
* Establish benchmarks to measure and evaluate mobile devices projects and their success
First, the home page redesign separates content from design. This is critical for repurposing content as well as content shifting - allowing a user to take a piece of content that they've identified in one context and make it available in another. The bottom line: it is all about providing the right information to the right people in the right format at the right time.
Second, this summer the team expects to develop mobile guidelines/standards that can be adopted throughout the institution. Finally, we will be focusing on content liberation. Content liberation is a two-part process that results in a piece of content uprooted from its original context and tied to a user.
We are confident we are on the right track. Why? According to A List Apart, "Websites have responded quickly to these new demands. Media queries and the responsive design movement have enabled designers to tailor the experience of a site to whichever device a user happens to be using. Flexibility at this macro level of the site is important, but the real breakthroughs will come when we enable the same flexibility at the micro level with individual pieces of content."
Read previous home site redesign posts:
Time flies when you are having fun (3/23/11)
2011 Home Site Redesign - 8 weeks and counting (4/1/11)
Surviving - 7 weeks and counting (4/7/11)
The Amazing Race - 6 (wait - it's already 5) weeks and counting (4/21/11)