The overhauled ithaca.edu experience will be rolling out later this spring and we’re super excited about it. There are a lot of big changes in the works for our new site, and IC’s creative team will be posting about our creative direction and creative choices along the way.
From a creative strategy perspective, one of the most important changes is a fundamental shift in the creation process itself. We’ve shifted from an approach that focused on relaying information to one that is grounded in storytelling. This has led to very different results.
Our new approach is not just reflected in the ends (the resulting new Ithaca.edu site) but, as you may have read in our other blog posts, storytelling is also the means (how we go about building the site).
Based on work with our campus and agency partners and a ton of research, we developed “personas” (the real-life characters in our story) and “scenarios” (the narratives that tell stories about our personas). In going through this process, we continually work to better understand our audiences, their goals and needs, and how those change over time. Empathizing with our web users helps us to create not only useful but also meaningful experiences for them.
Mapping these stories helps us understand how user stories and IC’s story(ies) intersect, so we can best talk about what makes Ithaca College the special place we proudly call home. How do we understand ourselves at IC? How do we want to be understood by others? What does it mean to be part of the IC community—as faculty, staff, students, and alumni? These are the stories we want to tell and understanding our users helps us tell these stories in compelling ways, with them in mind.
little Big details.
This brings us back to design, copy (the written word), and interactive choices – all critical to storytelling. Getting to know our users enables us to have a consistent “voice” across the ithaca.edu experience. Every design element, messaging choice, and interactive component contributes to the user’s journey through the site, telling a consistent story seamlessly as a user’s decisions take them from one area to the next.
We’ve made conscious, research-based choices about a ton of “little Big details” – things like the color palette, typeface and typography, hierarchy of content, layout execution, interaction, and iconography, photography, and illustration, as well as voice and tone.
Done right, we create a site that uses storytelling to create relevant, meaningful experiences for our community. All these choices work together in a holistic way and contribute to a larger vision and purpose: communicating the inspiring story(ies) of Ithaca College.
Stay tuned for more details about the “little big changes” that will work together to tell IC’s story!
Erin Davis is the Executive Director of Creative Strategy and Development in IC’s Office of College Relations and Communications.