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Sites We’re Itching to Redesign: Yale University School of Art

By: Mary Barbour

After taking a look at MIA’s fanpage last week, we stumbled upon the Yale University School of Art site. WTF? Apparently, we’re not the first to come across this eyesore – the Reddit community already has a forum devoted to the University’s somewhat alarming design mishaps.

First things first: we get that this is an experiment. Art students are…artsy. So the idea that this site is a “wiki” page where students and faculty are all given editing access is creative, for sure. But when the result is heaps of poorly disseminated information scattered over pages and pages of big textboxes hovering over low-res .gifs, we sort of wish they’d handed over the web design aspects to…well, us.

Having an interactive, “installation piece” for a website is certainly a creative thing to do. But when it comes to the place where you really need to convey essential stuff about your organization, why not make a website for the public that does the job in a smart and efficient manner…and then make a separate blog for the whims and fancies of your art students.

If I had to pick, the thing that bothers me most is the lack of hierarchy. I know we talk about this all the time, but seriously, I just have no idea where to go first. Everything is on the same level and thus blurs into itself. It’s confusing.

Turning this site into a artistic masterpiece with total functionality would be a cinch. We’d tuck all the gratuitous stuff under the fold (art students, your thesis projects would probably require multiple clicks to access) and make the nuts and bolts easy to find. This doesn’t mean that it couldn’t still retain the “look and feel” of the Yale University School of Art. The beauty of WordPress is that content can change whenever you want it to. What if you had a rotating gallery of student work that complemented the design and structure of the site, rather than tore it apart?

Just some things to think about…

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