During the summer, the SCDS website was updated after 10 years. Tom Wroten, director of technology, and Tucker Foehl, assistant head of school, who collaborated to redesign the site, answer questions on what’s new and different.
Q: When did you start this project?
A: Foehl: We started last summer. It was my first week on the job, and Tom and I talked about a new website as something that could better capture our wonderful school.
Q: Was the site supposed to be launched at the beginning of the school year?
A: Wroten: When we first started, there was no set finish date, but it was something that we knew had to be done.
Q: Why was the website changed this year?
A: Foehl: It was a project that needed to be worked on in my first year. Our team thought of the story the website could tell about the school, and the previous website was not doing that for us.
Wroten: The previous website was built eight to 10 years ago, so it was time for an update.
Q: What were limitations of the old sites did you address in creating the new site?
A: Wroten: The biggest limitation was the lack of ease when updating the content. Editing the blocks of information was so much harder than it is now, simply because the old site was not designed to do that.
Q: What research was conducted to determine the function and purpose of the new website?
A: Foehl: We looked at almost 100 independent school sites throughout the country.
Q: Were there any interesting features in the early drafts of the website that weren’t in the final product?
A: Wroten: Everyone on our team thinks of the site as a living document. It will always continue to be added to, since that is how we designed it to be. This website is currently in version four.
Foehl: We started with a platform that would be comfortable for us, as Tom and I like the design.
We had a strong development team, Digital Deployment, and there is a Country Day alum, Haley Cornia Anthonisen, and alumnae parent Carsen Anthonisen on their small team. They have completed over 250 website projects, including (for) Calpers, the California History Museum and UC Davis, among many others. We wanted to use a local Country Day-connected firm to help us capture Country Day.
Q: Are there any major changes that you are excited about?
A: Wroten: One major change between the old site and the new was that the old site was purely information, and this site can tell a story for prospective students and those students who are just looking at our website for information. The process of uploading videos, photos and news is much easier for us.
Q: What is some feedback you have gotten from students and/or teachers?
A: Foehl: We have received very little direct feedback from students, but what we have received has been extremely positive. We worked with a couple of students during the design process, but there was no actual focus group.
We had lots of feedback from teachers and students in emails about little details, which is excellent, because it means that people are looking through the website to make it better.
Q: Is there a way for people to share their opinion on the site?
A: Foehl: We are constantly looking for feedback. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to offer any ideas, add any pictures or videos or to simply point out something that needs to be addressed by our team.