Creative technology agency DT has launched a website redesign for one of the country’s premier universities, Deakin.
The redesign aims to highlight Deakin’s focus on being a digital leader in its field and its longstanding record for use of cutting-edge technology. DT’s CEO Brian Vella said the new website is the result of months of research, testing and design work to produce a simple and contemporary design to accommodate multiple requirements.
“We really wanted to produce a website that would make complex decisions easier through excellent information design. This was all about helping people research as a community, instead of leaving them to evaluate options alone. We’ve used immersive, emotive content that should appeal to and accommodate the diverse needs of a university’s public-facing audience,” said Vella.
DT’s team benchmarked against the best global experiences in the world, not just the best university websites, to come up with its strategy.
Matt Edge, director of digital Marketing at Deakin, said the university had engaged DT as a result of wanting to achieve its ‘LIVE the future’ strategic vision of driving the digital frontier, by delivering a category defining public-facing website. Founded upon deep audience-centric insight, Deakin wanted to create a meaningful experience for the broad audiences who visit their site, he said.
“Deakin aims to build the jobs of the future, using the opportunities of the digital age to widen access to education and make a difference to the communities it serves,” said Edge.
“It is vital that we have a website that reflects these aims, as well as our focus on and promise to advance learning, ideas, value and experience over the next five years leading up to 2020. We are thrilled with the result, which we feel reflects the true brand values of our university while providing a source of contact that goes well beyond just information provision.”
The public-facing website redesign work was won by DT through a series of competitive pitches to a multitude of Deakin stakeholders. DT was engaged to undertake two main components: firstly, a future vision of what the Deakin website could be and what it could represent. And secondly, the visual design of the website itself.
In addition to the website redesign, DT began working with the broader Marketing Division on content strategy, content production and campaign development.
Work began in 2015, when DT undertook user research to gain insights about Deakin’s broad range of public-facing audiences. “The insights fed into an ‘Experience Vision’, formulating measurable principles for an exceptional experience to ensure DT could articulate what ‘category defining’ really meant and hold the site accountable to best-in-class,” said Tracy Brown, experience design strategy director.
“Throughout the design process there was ongoing validation with potential users of the site. Deakin’s stakeholders were engaged through showcases every fortnight, keeping them up to date with the progress made in the design, content and build of the site.”
DT developed and executed a range of components of the platform, including: experience strategy, user research, experience design (UX and visual), art direction, content strategy and content writing. Brown said an ambitious client vision meant that as designers they needed to think less traditionally, resulting in a particularly unique platform.
“We introduced black and white photography as a contrasting element to Deakin’s vibrant colour palette. Immediately the black and white lends an editorial and mature sensibility to staff and student testimonials, while at the same time makes for dramatic introductions to product pages. It is a clear stand out from competitor websites,” said Brown. “Additionally an extensive IA was made manageable for users through a fully responsive left hand side menu that allows users to navigate in a linear and progressive manner. We also introduced a “mosaic” pattern to start and end pages in an engaging and unexpected way. This pattern is an element that will become distinctly Deakin over time.”
The new site can be viewed at www.deakin.edu.au
DT is part of WPP AUNZ, the region’s leading marketing communications and content group.
Tracy Brown – Experience Design Strategy Director
Nicki Wright – Lead Experience Design Director
Nick Crawford – Senior Experience Designer
Nick Taras – Senior Content Strategist & Writer
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