The Mystery of the New Website or, How Sherlock Holmes Found a Way onto the Blog

A question you might be asking yourself right about now (along with what Sherlock Holmes has to do with anything) is “How, fine MarCom folk, can you possibly build a brand spanking new website by the end of August?!” Well, to that we say…

Sherlock Holmes knows the answer!Wait for it… waait foor iiit…

“Elementary, my dear Watson!”
(Ha, ha! Yes! This joke is the sole reason for Sherlock Holmes to be on the blog.)

Where are we now on the redesign, Holmes, my good man?

Quite simply, Watson, the easiest way to answer that question is to show you.

The Real Reason for This Post!

Along side having a bit of fun and updating everyone on our progress, the reason we’re posting the bunches of stuff below is because we want to know what you think. This is your new website. A collaboration with all of you. Please feel free to review anything or everything and leave your thoughts, comments and feedback (below) or email us at:

The Messaging Architecture

First buliding block of a website: the messageAfter spending time with us in January, then compiling all they’d heard, OHO (our website design vendor) came to the table with the foundation of our project: what it is we want to say about who we are.

When someone visits our site, even if they don’t read these exact words, this is the experience we want them to have:

  1. Northwest Sensibility, Family Feel
  2. A Transformative Spirit
  3. Perpetually Seeking Intellectual Challenges

[Read the full Messaging Architecture report.]

STATUS: Complete

The Sitemap

Second building block of a website: the sitemap

Saint Martin's 2015 sitemap

2015 Redesign Sitemap

The sitemap is essentially the navigation of a website. Think of it as an outline or table of contents.

Just like writing a thesis, once we’ve figured out what we’re writing about (our message), we chart how we’re going to say it.

  • My Thesis
    (i.e. website home page)

    • Topic One
      (i.e. academics landing page)

      • This information
        (i.e. accounting program)
      • That information
        (i.e. biology program)

The sitemap (and wireframes) help us to map out the user’s experience without getting sidetracked by the visual design.

For our new website we’re moving from a sitemap based on how the institution is organized to a sitemap based on how our primary audiences of prospective and current students utilize the website (or would like to!).

Review the sitemap

STATUS: In final review

The Wireframes

2015 Saint Martin's Wireframes

2015 Redesign Wireframes

Third building block of redesignWireframes block out the contents of the website, again, without having to worry about all the bells and whistles of the visual design.

We play with how blocks of content can, will or should be laid out to optimize the user’s experience — getting folks what they need as quickly as possible.

Review a sample of the wireframes

STATUS: Round 4 Revisions [Final approval 4/24/2015]

The Visual Design

2015 Saint Martin's Design Concept #1

2015 Saint Martin’s Design Concept #1

Fourth building block of redesignAnd now we come to the really juicing stuff — visual design!

Last week, OHO presented two design concepts to a group of Saint Martin’s stakeholders. By unanimous decision, the first design had hit the nail on the head. YAY!

One round of feedback has been delivered from SMU to OHO at the end of last week. On 4/14/2015, OHO will present Round 2 which will incorporate our feedback and mock up a few more pages.

STATUS: Round 2 Revisions [Final approval 5/13/2015]

That’s it! That’s where we are. Development (i.e. coding and all that stuff) are set to begin 4/23/2015, completed 8/13/2015. Soon we’ll be calling on folks to do user testing — whoohoo! Then you’ll get to click around and play.

‘Come, Watson, come!’ he cried. ‘The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!’
Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the The Abbey Grange


    1. Hi Dino! Would love if you forwarded to the rest of the trustees. I’m sending an email to the rest of the community shortly. Be well!

  1. My dear! I think we have a new mystery series on our hands! The Case of the Education Landing Page, The Case of the Library Link!

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