Duke Admissions

Duke University challenged Viget to transform their heavily informational admissions site into an online presence reflecting the academic excellence, ambition, and spirit of Duke. The site strategy utilized direct brand messaging, a simplified content strategy, visually striking content, fresh interactivity, mobile-readiness, and proof through numbers. A keen eye for visual storytelling and composition resulted in a redesign that is both emotional and engaging.


Strategy & Messaging

After conducting interviews, focus groups, and research, the need to define a concise messaging strategy was apparent. Viget and Duke worked together to organize recurring vocabulary into a set of 3 brand pillars, supported with presidential quotations, statistics, and elements from the University’s strategic plan and mission statement. These pillars were an invaluable resource as both a messaging platform and as the primary structure for collecting the stories and content found on the site. Additionally, these pillars morphed into “The Experience” section of the site and helped structure the “anatomy” of key brand messages.

UX Design

Facing the challenge of simplifying a site navigation for 115 pages of content, the team reorganized the existing content into a series of information clusters which we eventually translated to a formal site architecture. Sticky navigation bars at the top and bottom of the page along with tabbed page sections limit the space required for fixed navigation. As a result, the overall site was reduced to 26 total pages which have an open, magazine quality layout.

Visual Design

A primary goal for the new site was to show, not just tell, the Duke story to prospective applicants and students. This is done with strong design, beautiful photography, and powerful storytelling.  The redesign stays true to the Duke brand, while bringing the essence of the university - the people and the campus - to the forefront.  Bold visuals help break up pages into discrete sections to show the vibrancy and energy of Duke. When these sections are grouped together on a single page, the site can be likened to the traditional printed viewbooks that are given to prospective students.

Front-End & ExpressionEngine

An easy to use content management system was a priority for the Duke team.  For our ExpressionEngine installation, we focused on creating an intuitive, user-friendly system that would allow the admissions staff to easily manage a number of unique pages.  We leveraged Single Entry, an add-on that we developed in-house, to create a robust, customized entry for every main page of the site. Student, faculty, and alumni stories - a centerpiece of the new site - can be added to the system and published in under 10 minutes, giving Duke the ability to keep content fresh and up to date with minimal overhead.


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