Grappling with the Nondescript- Redesigning a Campus Technology Store Website Without a Benchmark
First floor foyer, Frontier Airlines Center
Approaching a ground-up website redesign for any campus department has its challenges, but the hurdles you encounter when that department straddles the boundaries between institution and commerce can be downright treacherous. TechZone, the Illinois State University campus technology store, was such a department. Serving the campus community through traditional, institutional services (software licensing, residential networking, and departmental purchasing) on the one hand, and running a "one-stop shop" for computers, tablets, and peripheral devices on the other.
TechZone's original website was terribly out-of-date and needed to be rebuilt from the ground-up, giving consideration to e-commerce design trends and current/future web technologies. Researching other campus technology stores' online presence was uninspiring. Templates and tables were universal, and institutional benchmarking was a bust. And although plans for future phases of the website's development include the integration of web store features, the TechZone website wouldn't be a fully-functioning e-commerce site when it relaunched in April 2012.
In the end, it was a multidisciplinary approach that resulted in a winning design--notable for its integration of millennial/inbound marketing strategies, unmistakeable institutional identity, social media, and an action-based site structure. In addition, TechZone's new website also uses cutting edge web standards like HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery; depreciates nicely on older browsers (e.g. IE 7); is responsive; and was built to the standards set by Institutional Web Support using the flexible framework they set up within the OmniUpdate Campus (OU Campus) content management system.
This poster session will describe the challenges I faced due to a lack of quality benchmarks, and the research and design considerations I employed to overcome them, in order to produce a high-quality, up-to-date campus technology store website.
Graphic Designer, Illinois State University
Mary joined Institutional Web Support in 2011. Her work includes creating marketing materials (print/digital) and managing websites for TechZone and its sub-brands, as well as design projects for the University's other 250+ websites.
In 2008, she left her boring job in Medical Records to pursue a BS in Graphic Communications at Illinois State, graduating summa cum laude in 2010. Facing a down economy, she enrolled as a graduate student in the Dept of Technology, studying Training and Development, and spent a year as a GA for University Marketing and Communications. She is currently writing her thesis, and hopes to graduate before pigs fly.