Communications Office Plans New Look for Phillips Academy Website

A redesign of the Phillips Academy website is currently underway, and the new site will be launched during the winter of 2008. The idea for a redesign was raised this past spring, and the venture will be led by the project director Steve Porter, Interim Director of Communications. The Andover website has not been revised since 2000. Porter said, “It is time to move to a next-generation website that has a more modern feel and a sophisticated look. A site that does a better job of explaining who Andover is and what makes us unique.” A general consensus was also made that all aspects of the website should be more cohesive. Valerie Roman, Director of Technology, said, “The concern was that it was too ‘bits and pieces’…At times, people have expressed that it’s not consistent throughout the pages of the site.” She added, “I think it will be easier to look at, easier for people to navigate and find the information they want, and easier to update to keep it current.” The new site will also be more user-friendly for its main audience: prospective students. 40% of all inquiries and preliminary applications come through the Andover website. Jane Fried, Dean of Admission and Assistant Head for Enrollment, Research and Planning, said, “Increasingly, students discover Andover online and convince their parents to allow them to apply. It is a critical component of our admission program, and it needs to reflect, as best as possible, the true Andover.” Roman adds, “For many 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who are looking at Andover, the first impression they get is going to It’s important to make sure they’re getting the correct message, and not for some reason thinking Andover is something it’s not. We want to make sure that we relate the actual and straight forward message of what Andover is.” With this vision in mind, the communications office and the technology office worked closely to interview numerous firms that specialized in web design work. In November 2006, the Boston-based BigBad was selected to create the new site. The contract was finalized at the beginning of January. Fried said, “BigBad has been successful in helping institutions differentiate their programs and communities from those of their peer institutions. I have every confidence that they will help us to do so as well.”