The identity of the recently merged programs of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at this leading Canadian university was suffering from a fragmented and underwhelming online presence. In comparison to other, similar programs of this calibre, the site had little influence on potential students, and was not functioning to unite those currently in the program.
A key to the redesign of the SALA website was to present the UBC School of Architecture as a leader in the education of architecture, as well as to reflect a culture of design, research, and community within the four recently merged departments. Additionally, the site required the delivery and management of a vast amount of program and admissions information in diverse graphic and textual forms—all in an easy-to-navigate format.
The site’s audience was identified as five distinct constituents, each with different goals, content priorities, and expectations for the website. The new site needed to present different information for each constituent. For example, if a faculty member was to login, their experience and permission to edit or create content would be different than that of a student’s or the public’s.
In contrast to the many brochure-style school websites, Industrial Brand proposed that SALA present the exemplary work that is produced on an ongoing day-to-day basis by its community. The new site design features dynamic content individually input by staff, faculty, and students using a Drupal platform as a content management framework and an HTML and Flash presentation layer. Through the provision of individual blogs/conversations and the areas of the site provided to key groups, the site fosters interaction, exchange, and exploration amongst the SALA community.
The site’s homepage greets visitors with three key navigational methods for entry to content: Taxonomy, the familiar hierarchic menus along the top; Folksonomy, a unique, sortable tag bar system along the right side; and Chronology, time-based content like upcoming events and news, which is displayed along the bottom.
“Industrial Brand’s process was educational, creative, and productive, all at the same time. More importantly we are proud of the result (www.sala.ubc.ca), which has been a good fit with our unique design-oriented community and faculty, staff and students.” – Ronald Kellett, Professor of Landscape Architecture, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA)
Launch website: sala.ubc.ca
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