Sunnyside Times Forum

The web team held a forum about the Sunnyside-Times website on Monday, Jan 9. Almost 40 people attended and participated in group discussions about the website, talking about their use, things they liked or didn’t like, what they had trouble doing, and what they might like to see in the future. The web team then met on Wednesday to try to distill what we learned and use it as the basis for planning our work for 2017. In this article, we will summarize the major findings as we understood them.

At the highest level, people were positive about the site, some of the things it provides, and its value to the Sunnyside community. That interest and excitement is a key driver for the web team in supporting their work in developing and maintaining the site. Thank you for your support.

We believe that we have identified four primary themes from all the discussions. We plan to focus our work activities for the next several months around those topics. We also heard a willingness on the part of many to get more involved in things ranging from advice on what works/doesn’t work to participating in teams to address specific needs. We plan to develop teams that will help us refine specific content areas.

Website Navigation

Probably the most significant need we heard from each of the groups was the need to simplify navigation of the site. It’s both a blessing and a curse that the website is large and diverse. That means that there are things that are of interest to a wide variety of residents. Unfortunately, that also means that finding what any particular user wants can be difficult. Several participants noted the difficulty in determining what information is included in a category. For example, an event might logically be listed under “Campus Life” or “Activities” or “Social” or “Events”.

Beginning with our next team meeting, we intend to initiate work on improving navigation for the site. We do have some starting ideas (and hope to solicit more), but everyone should be aware that this will not be a quick fix and part of the solution relies on user practice and experience itself.

People Stories

There was a strong desire to see more ‘people oriented’ or human interest stories. People wanted to see stories about interesting things about Sunnyside residents, they were particularly interested in more information about new residents, and there was a desire to see more stories about staff such as the recent Steve and David article.

This is already a key focus area for the team, but we are limited primarily by the availability of writers with time to develop stories. We have recently created a formal writing team that is leading in this effort and we are seeking help in all areas of writing including creation, editing, photos, ideas, research, reviews, … If you would be willing to help, please contact Linda Bradley at 568-8663 or

Resident Interests

Participants were very supportive of the new Classifieds capability and of Fun with Friends. We found the interest in the Classifieds somewhat surprising as it has only recently been launched and has no real usage yet, nor have we done any advertising. This is an area where we hope to make noticeable progress in the next several weeks.

Fun with Friends was also viewed very positively, though there was a wish for more variety and more ease of use. We received some ideas for some interesting expansions on the capability and plan to work on increasing its presence on the site.


There were several requests for additional and unique news and information about Sunnyside that will help to give the SST Website its own special identity. Many participants would like to see (summaries of) the minutes of things like Resident Council and other resident committee meetings. There were also requests for a replay/report from resident-attended meetings like “Coffee with Josh”.

While some of these may require support/concurrence of other groups, we will explore what we can do and look for support and guidance on doing this.

Moving Forward

With this general guidance and several more specific items, the web team can begin to plan activities for 2017. We very much appreciate the support and inputs we gathered from participants. We were also encouraged by the use of the forum concept to gain insight and to get people involved.

While we want to work on improving the Sunnyside-Times, at a somewhat higher level, we hope to make it a positive tool in growing an even more vibrant resident community at Sunnyside. To achieve that goal, we must have your help.