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Communication Studies Refreshes Brand with Redesigned Website and Logo

Posted Oct. 14, 2013

The School of Communication Studies at Kent State University has a new website and logo, viewable at www.kent.edu/comm. Launched in October, the school aims to provide a web presence that is reflective of the experience students have in the school. The site uses responsive design for mobile, offers easy integration to social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and audience-specific content.

Current and future students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the school will find the website fresh, easy to use and instantly comfortable. The site offers optimal search abilities, new content, and a feeling of comfort and ease of information access. A page specifically developed for international students provides information and a brochure in Chinese. From start to finish, student feedback influenced the design decisions, content organization and site structure.

Based in the university's content management system, CommonSpot, the site is one of the first at Kent State to use responsive design for mobile devices, making it easily accessible and user-friendly on a range of interfaces such as smart phones, tablets and laptops.

"Our goal was to portray not only what the School of Communication Studies has to offer, but also the way students feel when they get here - confident, welcome and at home," said Anne Dudley, marketing coordinator in the Schools of Communication Studies and Visual Communication Design. "The clean design, warm colors and focus on usability is reflective of the research findings and testimony from our students and faculty."

Research for the new web presence began in late January and included focus groups, a business needs analysis, heuristic evaluation, review of the site's analytics, and an online survey of 106 Communication Studies faculty, staff, alumni, graduate students, undergraduate students, and international students.

Staff members and students at IdeaBase (formerly known as The Tannery) conducted research, testing, design and implementation of the site. Operations Manager Evan Bailey, Business Development Manager Kristin Dowling, and a team of students designed and built the site. IdeaBase is a student staffed multi-disciplinary creative agency in downtown Kent, Ohio.

Chris Hallahan, interactive designer and developer at Kent State University Communications and Marketing, managed the site development and built custom templates in CommonSpot. Hallahan was integral in developing the responsive design for mobile, creating custom functions and collaborating with the school to build a unique solution that also met university brand standards.

Director of the School of Communication Studies Paul Haridakis supported the campaign for the new website, and Dudley coordinated the content creation and research in the school.