As one of America’s premier art colleges located in the heart of Portland, Maine’s thriving Downtown Arts district, Maine College of Art provides students from all over the world an education that prepares them to be creative working professionals from the moment they set foot on campus.
For MECA, our assignment was simple: create an engaging site that was mobile optimized, easy to navigate, immensely interactive, and most importantly, that told the College’s story through the lens of the students, faculty, staff and alumni. To this end, we made the art of visual storytelling our primary objective.
It was clear to us that MECA needed a site that would carry them forth confidently into the future. From online payment processing and a dynamic calendaring system, to auto-image cropping and tasteful integration of interactive elements, MECA’s new site offers a best-in-class user experience for each of their primary audiences – internally and externally.
For a community of current and future creative professionals, focusing on clean layouts driven by excellent photography was a no brainer. Images, stories, and artwork ‘do the talking’ and really drive the user experience.
Before sitting down to evaluate the results of our discovery research, we took a critical look at the College’s strategic priorities, target audiences, and site analytics to map out a content strategy.
Given the multitude of audiences within the MECA community, we designed a navigation that provided several pathways to the most commonly sought information. One of the guiding objectives for MECA’s new site was to make it as easy as possible for prospective students and their families to learn about educational offerings. This was achieved by offering a set of navigational systems oriented towards audience, key task, and key primary areas.
Perhaps the coolest interactive feature of the new site was the introduction of MECA Portfolio, built in response to overwhelming consensus collected in the discovery phase to feature more art. This custom-built piece of software allows students, faculty, and alumni to create their own online portfolio where they can showcase their best work. Each submission can then be tagged as ‘featured’ by site administrators and fed to relevant areas of meca.edu to facilitate the connection of MECA artists with professional opportunities.