The oldest independent school of music in the United States.
College websites often struggle to talk to many different audiences - prospective students, current students, donors, etc. New England Conservatory was no exception with their college conservatory, preparatory school, school of continuing education, and concert space.
As content grew to support these four spheres, the New England Conservatory website became bloated and outdated with over 11,000 pages, leaving visitors confused and overwhelmed with information. Working with Genuine, they wanted a full website redesign to ensure that the website was delivering the right experience and content, showcasing unique differentiators, and driving users to act.
Above video available on Youtube.
We wanted to engage visitors through a visually captivating experience that would allow them to emotionally connect and quickly understand what attending NEC feels like and the diverse community it represents.
Our goals were to:
Optimize the site for all users through responsive design.
The old website had an entirely different experience for mobile and desktop. By keeping the website responsive, we could convey the same experience and information. This was crucial as research showed a steady increase in prospective students browsing college sites on their phone.
Enable visitors to efficiently find the most relevant content through intuitive information architecture.
The website needed to serve many different persona types including prospective students, their parents, current students, prep/continuing education students, alumni, donors, concert-goers and board members.
Recruit strong candidates.
Showcase the experience of attending the school from faculty to student life in Boston to attract strong candidates to the NEC community.
Reflect the supportive environment and community.
People cited learning more about the community and the quality of institution as their top reasons for visiting the site. Current NEC students mentioned that the support they received set NEC apart from other more competitive music schools.
Ensure concert-goers can quickly and easily find performances.
Data showed that the most frequent visitors to the site were concert goers, looking for NEC concerts in the community.
PERSONAL ATTENTION, ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES
Our solution was to focus on providing an engaging and visually captivating experience allows users to emotionally connect and quickly understand what attending NEC feels like and the diverse community it represents. This translated into a redefined information architecture, new navigation approach, and ten page templates to carry out the full redesign.
Evaluating the experience against our initial goals:
- Optimize the site for all users through responsive design.
Wireframe prototype was built for desktop and mobile views, allowing the client and internal dev team to see how elements would respond and function in mobile.
- Enable visitors to efficiently find the most relevant content through intuitive information architecture.
Drop-down menus and elements such as an "I am a..." persona dropdown in the navigation allow users to easily find what they're looking for.
- Recruit strong candidates.
The proposed navigation focused on providing prospective students insights into the departments, the faculty, and the community.
- Reflect the supportive environment and community.
Bringing focus to faculty and community programs helped showcase what the NEC community is all about.
- Ensure concert-goers can quickly and easily find performances.
Redesigning the event calendar allowed users to filter and find performances that interest them.