A Couple of New Year Updates

This has been a busy week for Creative Services as we launched updates to two important communication tools.

Social StreamFirst, is an update to Social Stream, our version of a social media directory. If you have seen it before, the “Official” tab won’t look too much different with the exception of a couple of icon updates. This tab displays feeds from William & Mary’s top social media channels. It’s a great summary of our social media activity and saves you time if you want to know what’s happening at W&M but don’t want to login to separate social media sites to find out.

The most significant update to Social Stream lies in the Official-Ish and Unofficial tabs. The Official-Ish tab is a directory of social media sites for William & Mary’s schools, departments, offices, programs, etc. and the Unofficial tab includes mostly class groups and student clubs and organizations (with an occasional interesting persona thrown in).

Prior to this update, each tab was formatted in a two-column layout with a static listing of links to social media sites grouped by type (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.). Now, the first thing you see is an alpha list with the appropriate social media icons next to each entity with the ability to change the view if you want to see the listing by category, type or school.

It’s a very nice improvement in terms of design and usability. Kudos to the folks on the team that made it happen, especially Tiffany Beker who conceived of the idea and did the heavy-lifting implementing it.

W&M DigestThe second update this week is part of an effort to improve internal communications at William & Mary. A daily email (called the W&M Digest) is sent to faculty and staff and includes user-submitted announcements that are W&M-related. We have other very useful information for our internal audience that was not included in the digest – specifically the university’s news and events.

Experience has shown that the folks that work here like to have information pushed to them. They don’t want to visit multiple websites to get the information they need to know to do their jobs. An internal communications study also revealed that many people don’t take the time to visit the W&M homepage to stay abreast of current news and events. We decided to tackle this project in two phases.

In the first phase, we decided to convert the plain text W&M Digest email to an html-enabled email and include the top three news and events from the university’s website. We also added an index at the top of the email that allows folks to jump to a specific story, announcement or event.

We will be collecting feedback on this interim format and meeting with groups across campus to gauge what kind of information they want and need to receive on a daily basis. Many thanks to Amelia Rooks for the new W&M Digest design and Andrew Bauserman for his technical know-how to implement it.

~ Tina Coleman

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