This post appears today on the site of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Shh…don’t tell anyone, but we’re redesigning our website.

That’s the standard attitude towards website redesign, at least since the (merciful!) death of those horrible “under construction” signs you used to find all over the web. It’s kind of the way people are about disclosing plans for plastic surgery or corporate reorganization: nobody wants to admit an overhaul is needed until it’s all done and you can put a happy face on the results.

We’ve decided to break with tradition and put the redesign out in the open. After all, it’s no secret that the Social + Interactive Media Centre website looks pretty rough. We pulled it together in about 3 days, borrowing heavily from a pre-existing website profile and using a default theme. It got the job done but it certainly hasn’t reflected the creative and design talent or innovative tech thinking that we find at Emily Carr and among our partners.

For the past few months we’ve been working on something better…hopefully a lot better. And since we are here to share Emily Carr’s creative and design capacity with the community, we want to invite you along for the ride.

We’ve started by rolling back our current site to the most basic design we could imagine: the virtual equivalent of a blank slate. And we’ve figured out what we want our new site to do, functionally: the content and features it needs to offer.

What comes next is the fun part. We’re now working on making it look cool, behave in an interesting way, and most of all, engage the folks who the SIM Centre is here to serve: Vancouver’s business, creative and tech communities.

Embedded in this blog post is a wireframe (functional mockup) that maps out the ingredients you’ll find in our upcoming site, which will be built by Raised Eyebrow. These wireframes were created by Myron Campbell, an Emily Carr graduate student who was recently named interactive designer of the year at the Canadian New Media Awards. Myron based his wireframes on the work and input of our broader website team; I’ll introduce the rest of the team in my next post.

As we take these wireframes from a functional description to a living website, we are inviting you along with us. We’ll share our internal design notes, sketches and glitches. We’ll argue in public and if you’re lucky you’ll also catch our moments of inspiration. We’ll do our best to model a constructive collaboration, and we’ll be eager to hear your thoughts and experiences on what makes for a great web development process.

And we would love your inspiration, too. Tell us what we’re getting right, what we’re getting wrong and where we can do better; we are even setting up a voting feature that will let you vote other people’s comments up or down. And please do tweet, blog, Facebook and gossip about our design process to encourage your colleagues and friends to share their feedback, too.

Initial wireframes for