What Am I Looking At?

The landing page of You Are Here is a live view of the Leoni Farroll Focus in the Science Center at Wellesley College. Between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., the feed is live but not recorded. Overnight, the You Are Here landing page reverts to a short recorded loop, so we can “keep the lights on.”

The Science Center is a hub at Wellesley, for more than just scientists. All kinds of students, faculty, and staff work, meet, study, eat, and hang out here. Its year-round steady hum of creativity, sociability, and industriousness made it a perfect place to start an exploration of life at Wellesley.

The blue mats that serve as the site's links are really there on the walkway. The links are mapped to the images on the screen. Maybe you’ll see someone stop and wave to the camera (“Hi, Mom!”) when you’re about to click on one of the buttons.

What’s Beyond the Landing Page?

In the course of redesigning and relaunching the Wellesley College website, we interviewed many students about what they sought in a college website. Knowing Wellesley’s once-modern but now creaky virtual tour would need replacing, we wanted to know which college virtual tours they liked or found memorable. “Huh?” was the reply we got. It turns out that students universally dismissed virtual tours as “boring and dumb.”

Every liberal arts college has an advanced library, an active gym, fine learning facilities, and a bustling student center. After “touring” several of them, they all seem to blend together. And anyway, we learned that what women leaving home for the first time really want to know is—what will I eat? Where am I gonna sleep? Is it any fun? Will I fit in?

We ended up creating You Are Here, and so reimagined the virtual tour. Instead of the ubiquitous map-driven, location-based slideshow with highly scripted descriptions of buildings and what happens in them, You Are Here explores Wellesley through the activities and circumstances of most interest to prospective students. We have attempted to put the virtual back in virtual tour: giving users an exquisite taste of what it’s like to be a student at Wellesley—the choices, opportunities, everyday moments, and quirky distinguishing features (including people) that make it different from anywhere else.

Thanks to all the many Wellesley students, faculty, and staff whose time, energy, ideas, photos, collaboration, and feedback helped create this site!