Hey web devs! We knew you'd look under the hood. Please pardon the mess...we still have some clean up to do. If it drives you crazy and you want to help us get it perfect, maybe you should join our team! We could use another set of hands!
A small college of approximately 2,700 undergraduate students, Guilford was looking to evolve its online presence to better represent the variety of its constituents which now include adult as well as traditional students.
Through internal stakeholder research – with the Web team, as well as different departments throughout the community – hesketh.com recognized that the college’s sports, theatre arts, and development departments attracted unique audiences with distinct Web site usage goals in comparison to the main site. As a result, hesketh.com recommended developing these areas as microsites. In organizing the content throughout the site, hesketh.com’s information architects focused on easy access to the content that fulfilled the primary needs of multiple user groups to structure top-level navigation. Using the proven usability technique of building information scent (visual and linguistic cues throughout a Web site that create paths to desired outcomes), we encouraged visitors to dive deeper into lower content tiers of the Web site.
There was not a consensus among stakeholders, however, regarding the primary target audience of the site. hesketh.com approached this challenge by developing three design comps, each geared toward a different user group: a) redesigning Guilford’s then-current approach to focus on its existing student body; b) focus on prospective students and families through a dynamic aesthetic that illustrates the activity and student life on campus; c) focus on alumni, donors, potential faculty, and other adult audiences with a polished look that evokes accomplishment and success and provides easy access to development resources. (See next page for examples). Once the Web committee was able to see the visual representations emphasizing each user group, more meaningful conversations ensued, and they were able to efficiently land on audience C as their target. hesketh.com completed the information architecture, design, and development for the resulting site.