Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A virtual revamp

Have you ever had a vision of something that you want and then it finally comes to fruition, and it is even better than you could have imagined? Well, that has just happened with the Wheaton Quarterly magazine’s online version.

For a long time, we have wanted to improve the Quarterly’s virtual presence, as part of our continuing effort to make it more reader friendly.

The Wheaton College web strategy team, collaborating with representatives from all divisions, has already worked to redesign the entire college web site. That work began in the spring of 2009 and the resulting renovated web site was launched 10 months later. It now includes more news, images and profiles of students, faculty and alums, as well as much-improved navigation and search capability.

With the same goals in mind, the magazine and communications team began working with the web strategy team this fall to revamp the Quarterly online. It all began with conversations about how to best serve our readers; how to better share the wealth of information and interesting stories contained within the magazine, both with the campus community and beyond; and how to satisfy the social media butterflies. In the end (not really, because we plan to continue tweaking things), we think we have come up with some great improvements that fulfill many of our goals.

And now… (drum roll and applause, please) we excitedly announce the launch of our virtual revamp! Check it out at wheatoncollege.edu/quarterly/.

Numerous enhancements will make the site easier to use for repeat users and first-time visitors:

  • The layout has been redesigned to make it more enticing.
  • Feature stories are front and center in a sliding box that draws attention and provides easy access to choose which stories to read first.
  • A new horizontal menu has been added beneath the banner to make it easy to spot and navigate to other sections of the magazine.
  • President Ronald A. Crutcher’s “Convergence” column is on the home page and organized in a way that provides quick access to previous columns.
  • The people featured in the magazine articles—alums, students, faculty—appear on a right-hand column that leads you to their stories.

In planning the changes to the online version, one of our main goals was to make it easier to get to stories. So, while you can still download the entire magazine in PDF form, you can also read them as individual web pages. (Before, only the feature stories were available as web pages.) Best of all, we have responded to the popularity of social media and provided ways to share, using Facebook, Twitter and other tools.

You can even download the PDF version to your eBook reader, computer or smartphone. Every device and every reader app is a little different. We’ve had great success with the iPad using the Stanza and GoodReader apps. These apps will download the PDF files listed in our bookshelf directly onto your iPad for later reading. On the web site, click on “eReader” in the menu directly under the banner to find out more.

OK, so enough description. Go to the new web page! Click around. Tell us what you think (go to the “contact us” page and e-mail us from there). We want this to be interactive. We need your feedback. How can we make it even better?

About Sandy Coleman

Sandy Coleman is the editor of the Wheaton Quarterly and Senior Associate Director in the Communications Office.