Vermont Law School, a small, prestigious college specializing in Environmental Law, conducted a complete overhaul of its old site. Hundreds of navigational categories including multiple orphan and legacy pages were folded into five simple sections that guided the user through the entire school's scope of experience. Secondary and tertiary categories for supporting content were also created, allowing the site to function not only as a marketing vehicle for potential students, but also as an informational resource for enrolled students and school faculty.
The school sought to turn its location into a brand selling point. On-location photography and a warm color palette taken directly from the breathtaking natural surroundings help to balance out content-rich pages. The design features a wide range of templates, all controlled by a robust, streamlined Content Management System (CMS). Navigation and templates are built with a great deal of flexibility in mind, allowing the site to grow and expand naturally over time.
Produced while employed as an Interactive Designer at mediumbold.
Responsibilities included Visual/Interactive Design and Information Architecture.
Vermont Law school's beautiful, unique location is immediately communicated on the homepage — the nearby mountains are incorporated into the header and persist throughout all the levels of the site's navigation. High-level messaging about the school's specialty in Environmental Law is communicated, including its position in the prestigious U.S. News rankings. Opportunities to directly interact with the school through institutional blogs and student profiles are also presented.
Displayed school news and events serve as an informational resource for students and faculty, and also as a way of demonstrating the school's activity and involvement with the community to prospective students. Tools and support resources for interacting with the site itself are made available, including an extensively customized Google-powered search and content-relevant RSS feeds.
The site's primary navigational schema has been distilled down into five categories: Experience VLS, Academics, Our Faculty, Career Paths, and Admissions. This reflects the prioritized "story" a potential student would be interested in reading; starting with information about the school and ending with a call to action (contacting Admissions).
Each of the five landing pages features indexed navigation; descriptive links threaded into primary page content to unobtrusively lead the user deeper into the site. Photographs of relevant content are introduced, all taken from the campus and surrounding community.
Multiple unique content modules were built into the site, all flexible enough to be introduced seamlessly into the page templates.
Here, a tool designed to aid the course selection process allows users to dynamically sort and gather information on the entire course catalog.
Specialized "microsite" templates were also designed. Unique, content-heavy areas such as academic programs and faculty information pages can exist within the site's overall scope, but may also function independently of the rest of the site.
The microsites follow the main site's navigational conventions to maintain a consistent browsing experience. However, a slight palette shift and reworking of the page's overall structure subtly communicate to the user that the a shift in focus has occurred.
Finally, as Vermont Law School is an academic instution, the entire site was coded to be fully complaint with the stipulations for web browsing mandated in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The site is platform-sensitive and is able to scale its content down to best perform on whatever device it is being viewed on. Here, features and content are prioritized based off of the scope of browser functionality and bandwidth availability.