The first time I had seen the LiveWhale calendar system that powers our new university calendar was last October at the HighEdWeb conference. In particular, Jason Pontius gave a presentation which really resonated with me. He advocated for a calendar system being more than just someplace to post times and dates. Instead it should be something that we use to tell about all of the wonderful things that happen on our campuses. To market our events, and thereby market our university. The calendar system that they built did that better than any of the ones we evaluated.
One of the things you will notice on the new calendar is that there is an increased use of imagery. This is true on both the calendar view itself as well on on the specific event information pages. As we visited with the people across campus who would be entering events, increasing their use of visuals was always the first thing we stressed. The images pull in a visitor’s eyes, making them more interested in digging deeper and reading about the event. Photos can also give a much deeper concept of what the event is about than any text description or contact information will ever do.
Keeping on the theme of visuals, another great addition is the use of Google maps to show locations. Given the size of our campus, having these maps embedded on each event page can be vital to showing people exactly where the event is being held. Almost all of the official locations on campus have been pre-loaded into the system for event planners to select from. Because the system is based on Google Maps, off-campus events can easily be added to the map by simply pasting in the address and letting Google create a new pin.
We have already started receiving feedback on the new calendar, and both the public and the local event managers have recognized the focus that it puts on making the experience more useful and enjoyable for the user.
No comments yet.