Recently, we had the privilege of getting to know the team at Mount Ida College, working with them on a branding initiative. The full scope included a beautiful new mark, messaging that reflected the Mount Ida of today, print collateral to connect with key audiences, and a digital presence, structured and designed according to their newly defined brand guidelines. Our primary goal with the website was to completely transform the existing information architecture to develop a fully responsive, easy to navigate, and visually engaging experience.
During our web discovery phase, we chatted with almost 100 people from across the campus. We heard story after story about the vibrant, diverse community, as well as their incredibly devoted faculty and engaged students, and the wide range of academic offerings availible to pursue. We also heard that the site was difficult to update, that it held a lot of internal information, that it had an outdated look and feel, and that it needed more images and video to bring it to life.
The decision was made to elevate Mount Ida’s programs within the hierarchy of the site so their most in-demand programs would build equity to their new brand — which in turn would impact how the rest of their programs were perceived, and so on (we call that cycle of influence and equity a “virtuous circle”.) As for any college, enrollment is a high priority for Mount Ida, so the goal was to engage prospective students as quickly as possible when they arrived on the site. In response, we opted to create an interactive “featured program” grid, using the majority of valuable home page real estate to provide multiple ways in to the full content of the site — all based on the user’s interests.
For each featured program, the viewer can:
- Read an overview and skip directly to program landing page, circumventing the academic landing page. Let them skip the landing pages if they want to!
- “See a highlighted class” and “Choose to view” options are larger descriptions about the curriculum, from which they can link to the course catalog.
- Read an associated faculty or student story description, and then click to read the full post (and hopefully share it over their social media channels.)
- Watch a video, or see an associated image where no footage is available
The use of dynamic content throughout the site was a high priority to ensure that the site stayed current and fresh. Developing both template and taxonomy systems in WordPress, we created an easy to use CMS for their talented (yet tiny!) group of digital caretakers.
Finally, because we know that people often scan websites rather than read them — especially younger viewers — we also created an interactive Why Study Here page, populated dynamically with associated posts. Our hope is that this page will help prospective students get a feel for the campus, and enable them to find their place in such a wonderful community.
Congratulations to the team at Mount Ida College on their new website –and thank you for months of great collaboration!