I flew to Denver, Colorado, yesterday (impression: it seems flatter than I imagined) for a weekend visioning retreat in which a number of us from various sites of the National Writing Project are working to consider how an organization presents itself on the Web in a coherent, inclusive and relevant way for its audience (for us, teachers) and the general public.
Our aim is to do inquiry this weekend into our organizations (mine is the Western Massachusetts Writing Project), work through some essential questions and then map out a plan for collaborative planning around the content and design/redesign of websites that will better reflect our sites.
We began last night with prewriting and discussions. Among the things we were asked to do was to brainstorm what “web presence” means to us and then work on coming up with a visual metaphor for this understanding. I pitched the idea of a Talent Show, in which the public sees a variety of different concepts and ideas but behind the scenes, there are a lot of people collaborating on the show. In the end, our group chose the metaphor of a huge eye, with the eye representing “vision” and also a list of “i” words such as a inquiry, inviting, insightful, inclusive, etc. That worked for me, too.
At the other tables, the metaphors included: an interconnected table of people, holding hands and connected through many nodes (think a modern version of King Arthur’s Roundtable, with no king); a portable children’s museum that has exhibits that invite participation (not a static museum where you can’t touch anything); and a metaphorical walk through the woods, with trees and the road representing elements of inclusiveness.
It’s all very fascinating, particularly if you push these ideas into digital identity of people (as one person said last night, we’re all cool on the Internet) and consider audience, design, and more.
More to come later …
Peace (on the Net, where no one knows you’re the dog),