Thursday, April 16, 2009

RAS PTO, PTSO, etc Common Look and Feel

"Common Look and Feel" is a phrase we use in equipment design to explain that a family of machines should share common controls, functionality, aesthetics, etc. This allows the operators to feel comfortable while moving from one model to another. Also, it can be useful in creating brand recognition.

"Standard Work" is documented common instructions that are followed while executing a process. It typically details key actions and the party(ies) responsible. Often people mistakenly think "Std work" limits creativity and content. The reality is that "Std Work" frees up the participant to focus on the output, instead of wasting time thinking of new ways to execute it. Also, it helps people learn and execute more quickly. (ie transitory PTO volunteers)

The new sites are a great improvement, however I think there are some further gains available on the PTO pages. It sure would be easier to learn from the other schools if we had "common look and feel"(ie web page layout & content, budget formats & program terminology, etc) and some "std work" (ie web page creation & maintenance, etc).

And yes each school needs to maintain its individuality (ie content), however that would be the information displayed within the fixed format... See below... Thoughts ?

I won't even touch why so many acronyms exist for the Parent School orgs...

Meadow Lake
Noble - Minutes
Northport - not available
Pilgrim Lane
Spanish Immersion
Sunny Hollow
Zachary Lane
Plymouth Middle
Robbinsdale Middle
Sandburg Middle
Cooper - not available (Senior Party)
Highview Alternative Learning - not available


DJ said...

Such a simply phrase but yet a massive pain. I can tell you with intimate knowledge (i.e. it was my job in RAS) that getting everyone to do "common look and feel" is almost impossible.

When the district mandated that all school sites go from their "do-what-ever-you-wanted" days where each school got to do anything on their website to the previous each school had the same navigation, menus, but we tried to make each site look individual. I think for the first 4 months it was about 10 angry VM's/e-mails a day from parents/staff that we took their freedom away. (Although we made it so anyone could update the pages.)

Amazing thing is I sat in meetings where community and staff said that what the district currently has for school sites is exactly not what they wanted to do at the time. They didn't want to have the same website where all that changed was the logo on the top of the screen because it was going to take their identity away.

Funny how if you move slowly in the direction no one wants no one notices you got there at the end.

John said...

This is probably why I am an engineer and not a graphic artist. I am just too practical.

I understand the challenge RAS has. My customers are relatively "typical" and very practical.(ie comfortable, common and productive) The product must make me money and keep my employees comfortable / happy...

RAS' customers cover the complete range of society, beliefs, priorities, etc and they do not pay directly for the requested service/product. In other words they drive: Chevy, Toyota, BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Cadillac, Daewoo, etc and demand RAS meet their unique tastes no matter the cost... (I still don't get that...)

My vote is still for comfortable, common and productive... Without this the system stays inefficient and quality remains poor. I am not sure how to convince the "artistic, unique, special, etc" folks to focus on plays, music, banners, communication content, etc and leave communication format and access to the "practical, productive, etc" folks.

Give me a few cool graphic arts things that I can link to from the common framework / template. Then folks will actually be able to find and appreciate them...