I have seen a bit of chatter in Twitterverse about #satech, #sacomm and #sachat asking about media/design examples within Student Affairs and Higher Education. I like to think we are all responsible for the image and brand of the university. In student affairs I think this is very new and growing quickly. ITS and PR should not be having all the fun! So I thought I would share my personal favorites in higher education design and media usage.
Texas A&M University- Commerce
Call me a sucker for simplicity but I really like this minimal but robust website. The page has a scrolling showcase of images taken around campus with a very diverse cast. The black menu bars drop down to display departments and highlight pages of interest, the phone number is easy to see and the intranet button is plenty visible.
University of Missouri
There are three options for a virtual tour on Mizzou’s admissions page a 10 minute YouTube video (captioned, yes!), an interactive map with photos and video (created by the awesome guys at NuCloud) and a very entertaining 77 second video tour with the Mizzou mascot Truman.
Mention: Syracuse University The Virtual tour is hosted by an avatar with a script. I find this lack of transparency odd at the least. The design is easy to use and slick to use.
Use of Facebook:
Texas A&M University
I promise I am not home state bias, Go HORNS!. Even the U.S. News & World Report thinks their facebook page is more than stellar. Real quick best practices here 1) Invest in the time to design your custom vertical banner, 2) Invest time and design to create your own “tab” & layout, 3) Give your students a reason to want your content and reason to come back and 4) Show some personality!
Mention: Ever hear of Biola University? Me neither, but looking at their facebook page sure does tempt me to order a viewbook!
Use of Twitter:
North Carolina State University
NCSU has a dedicated page to all of the Twitter accounts associated with the University. To date it lists 91 accounts for departments, athletic teams and organizations. The page includes an intro to Twitter resources, displays streams for tweets from orgs of NC State and a link to a stream searching #wolfpack, #ncsu and #ncstate. With all this Twitter its hard to believe the Wolf Pack is ever out of the loop. Bonus! You can download the source code used to make the site for FREE.
Dean Elmore from Boston University (7,485 follwers and counting)
Dean Elmore is a Student Affairs rockstar dolling out nuggets of wisdom, conversation feeders and has students asking him for mentions and RTs to promote their events. The transparency has catered to the Millennial generations while providing a dosage of character and humanism of a higher education administrator.
University App/Mobile Website:
The Ohio State University
This app seems like a miracle worker in hindsight. I WISH this would have existed back in ‘04! (I know…it was the technology stone age, iPhones didn’t event exist.) This app is more comprehensive then the ones I’ve seen at other big name schools include Harvard and Stanford. Someone consulted students regarding what they would use an OSU app for. Well they use it for real-time bus stop information, ID card money balances/transactions, checking grades/class schedules, GPS campus map, campus directory, athletic information and much more!
For those of use who may or may not be tech/comm/design nerds… Style Guides!
Style Guides can be editorial or visual in nature. Often times distributed by university public relations, public affairs or creative teams. Check when creating printed materials and social media that you are following policy.
Vanderbilt University has created their own supplement to the AP Style Guide.
Indiana University has created a Visual Identity guide for print, digital media and web. Even includes PowerPoint templates.
Cornell University has a rather extensive and super detailed Style Guide including measurements for stationary and business cards.
Auburn University stretches Cornell’s limits and even includes embroidery standards.
This is a just a taste of different communications and technology trends in higher education. What is your university doing? What is your department doing? Don’t be afraid to show off. Share your links!