Communication Arts webpicks: Hereford College of Arts

Communication Arts webpicks: Hereford College of Arts

Textured visuals and large-scale photography fold together in Hereford College of Arts’ new site.

Responses by Ben Steers, cofounder/creative director, Nick Lewis, creative technologist/web developer and Marjorie Newnham, account executive, Fiasco Design.

Background: The purpose of the site is to inspire prospective students (and their parents) by showcasing the stories and the work produced by the Hereford College of Arts (HCA) community. The website elevates the new branding that we rolled out approximately a year ago, and exists as a digital hub for the current HCA staff, students and surrounding the Hereford community.

Highlights: Flexible course journal page templates enable each course to have their own voices, harkening back to the collaborative nature of the rebrand. The website champions the work of the students through flexible templates and the use of largescale photography. It also elevates the college’s new visual language through the use of textures—which reflect the “hands-on,” pragmatic nature of the creative courses at HCA.

Challenges: It was difficult to pull together the content from HCA’s current website, its array of courses and its multitude of external journal websites into one cohesive digital home for all the content.

Favourite details: Wrestling with a vast sitemap and creating more effective taxonomies and navigation. The overall bold, simple yet impactful execution. Giving administrators at the college almost limitless control over the content. Explorative drag and drop student galleries that feature on every course page. Bringing the new branding to life in the digital space.

Navigational structure: Streamlined navigation and improved user experience makes it easier for users to find relevant information on courses, community, news and events. The simple dropdown mega menu allows for easy access to the site’s multiple areas—delivering a lot of information in a small amount of screen space. It is also built to be fully editable via the WordPress CMS; something that was a requirement from HCA.

Technical features: The site is built on top of WordPress with a combination of HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Building on top of the WordPress CMS was key to enabling future updates for HCA, while making the process of handling data easier on the front-end. We incorporated Javascript libraries to help along with front-end animations, and Ajax for a more seamless front-end experience in high load areas.

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