The Department of Dramatic Art (DDA) is a vibrant, dynamic community on the University of North Carolina campus. It’s a beehive of activity as teachers, students and theatre professionals are in constant motion toward “showtime” — the semester is either in production, rehearsal, research, design, audition, somewhere in-between, or all of the above.
The visual experience of their website, however, reflected none of this energy or production quality. Nor was it easy to find information about the people and programs; the navigation was infinitely nested behind hidden rollovers and cascading drop-downs, and the architecture itself had lost its way in counterintuitive workflows. These weaknesses were affecting the bottom line, as the accomplishments of the department went unnoticed and prospective students looked elsewhere.
DDA needed a contemporary website platform which would attract prospective students, increase enrollment, and showcase the breadth and depth of the department’s daily production. It also needed to expand its focus to prioritize delivering information in a clear manner, provide streamlined navigation, and emphasize storytelling around key subjects.
To achieve these goals within the school’s limited budget and maintenance resources, our team addressed the site’s core issues. Structurally, we reorganized the site to best suit the primary audience’s needs and priorities. Since prospective students were their primary audience, we centered the site around the programs of study: the homepage CTA, the first item in the main navigation, and an expanded section further down the homepage.
Visually, we brought energy, appeal and specificity to the site by utilizing the department’s high quality photography in bold header placements. And to maintain a consistent experience with the UNC audience at large, we incorporated the mandated UNC brand colors and typefaces in a contemporary style, paying particular attention to legibility and accessibility of the dense content.
While enrollment statistics have not been documented as of this writing, DDA has communicated that this overhaul was much appreciated and they’re “very excited” about having an online presence that reflects their community.
+ Jason Van Pelt – Interactive Direction, Strategy, Development, UX
+ Adrianne Kimbell – Visual Design, Art Direction, UX