Waverley College Campus Tour

January 7, 2018

The original build of the Waverley Website was guided by the theme “Every day is an open day”. Up until then, new and current parents could only get a behind-the-scenes view of the school on two open days each year. This tour was part of the original brainstorming for that theme and it was put on the schedule of work a year or two later. It is a way for parents’ to explore the school between those open days.

waverley.nsw.edu.au/campus-tour

I worked on the design and development of this feature when I was a director at Multiple States. The below interview follows the form with which we wrote our Case Studies. As I have now moved on I asked my lovely wife Flora to put the questions to me in absence of any colleagues.

Tell me about the navigation of posts through this tour.

In my mind, the most interesting aspect the tour is the ability to match existing site content (Conversations, Information, Events, Contact, and News) to the physical areas of the school. To have been able to wander through the main gates into the Kenny Building and then into the Learning Support Room is a lovely experience. However, to then be able to read a conversation with the head of learning support, David Parnell, about the learning assistance my child could or does receive is just magic for a new or existing parent. That navigation gives the most amazing physical context to the already outstanding content that had been developed by Waverley and Rachelle Blake at Fog & Co. It is something is so beautifully simple that it now seems completely obvious but took a lot of effort to get right.

You say it took a lot of effort to get right. Tell me about the benefits of not panicking and giving a project its own agenda?

This project had been on the schedule of work for a long time. We had been chipping away at it amongst more pressing features. Slowly, but methodically and relentlessly. I think the best features have developed over time and not in a rush. When other priorities had been cleared this feature got its time under the microscope and we worked with a little more velocity. However, the mentality was never “it has to be out by this date” but always “it will be out when it is ready”. Waverley knows this is the best way to work and had a lot experience with us and that way of working. They invest in their website on a regular basis. This means they spend a certain amount per month. They don’t follow the “Aghhh! the site is broken, let’s spend shitloads of money on changing development agencies, rebuilding it and getting a rebrand at the same time” model of investment, which is more traditionally favored in our industry.

Who was in charge of the Photography?

Milos Mlynarik was the photographer. This is the same photographer that we have been working with since the beginning of our relationship with Waverley. The understanding is deep. Milos knows exactly the vision wanted by Fog & Co. and exactly the needs of Waverley. Fog & Co. provided the art direction and facilitated the process.

The photography, in my opinion, is what makes this tour so fantastic. Milos has a knack for capturing the quiet beauty of a building. I find it difficult to describe the qualities of the photos in words, but I think they are honest and unstaged and at the same time deeply engaging. There I had an attempt! In addition to this, he works quickly and efficiently with no fuss. What a bonus.

You developed this tour without ever visiting the location. Was effect did that have?

For our role (design and development), it was completely inconsequential. The actual map of the locations and how they relate was the thing that needed a knowledge of the site and Waverley and Fog & Co. collaborated brilliantly on that. We just worked on the page structure that would work for a tour. The campus had to be broken down into a hierarchical list of locations. We used WordPress pages for the locations so the hierarchy matches the default functionality and Fog & Co. could add and remove locations as they wished. The only limitation was that a location could only have one parent. But interestingly, and contrary to my initial instinct, this never really became an issue. Pyshical locations are actually pretty concrete… get it?

Credits

  • Design & development  – Will McLean
  • Design & development – Kevin Beck
  • Design & development – Chris Corby
  • Art Direction, project management & content curation – Rachelle Blake (Fog & Co.)
  • Photography – Milos Mlynarik

This is a Case Study post.