College’s Virtual Home Earns Actual Prize
Mary Baldwin College brought home an Award of Excellence from this week’s Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) conference in New Orleans for the design and implementation of its new Internet home page.
The recognition comes after months of work by the college’s Office of Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs (CoMPA) and its fall 2010 launch of the new MBC website.
“This award recognizes not only the visual appeal and content of our new home page, but also its navigation and functionality,” said Vice President for Public Relations Crista Cabe, who accepted the award on behalf of the CoMPA staff. “Our small team accomplished a miracle, completing a full redesign within a shorter time frame than most web development experts deem possible, and on a very limited budget. Thanks to our talented and hardworking designers, writers, and web developers, MBC held its own against much larger institutions with greater resources.”
There are more than 500 institutional members of CASE District III , which sponsors the awards program, including independent schools, colleges, and universities in nine southeastern states.
Judges of the home page category consider graphic design, features, utility, and how well the page fulfills the institution’s stated objectives. Two other entries, from Vanderbilt University and Northern Kentucky University’s alumni office, also garnered Awards of Excellence.
CASE District III has recognized Mary Baldwin with a number of other awards in recent years for Flash presentations, The Mary Baldwin College Magazine, direct mail efforts, event invitations, viewbooks, and slide and multimedia programs.
MBC’s dramatically different home page delivers not only a fresh design, but also emotional appeal, easy-to-use navigation options, and up-to-date content. Seven main rotating images and corresponding messages highlight Mary Baldwin College’s distinctive strengths as a women’s-centered university while intuitive navigation bars point users to the information they need and a prominently placed widget keeps visitors connected to news and events.
The new site also includes a zone for three features, which will change periodically to include third-party endorsements; information about new academic programs and research; and multimedia projects that incorporate the voices of Mary Baldwin students, alumnae/i, and faculty.
Work on the home page is just one piece of the CoMPA team’s ongoing overhaul of the more than 6,000-page MBC website. The new look and navigational structure provide a foundation for several planned phases of improvement and the web team is constantly updating content. Also in the works is a mobile site for use on smart phones and a new content management system that will offer more ways for members of the college community to update content.