By Nicole Gennarelli
CCI Commons, the College of Communication and Information’s (CCI) living-learning community, has a new website viewable at www.kent.edu/ccicommons. Launched in December, the website redesign aims to reflect the feel of the CCI Commons and represent its welcome, friendly community atmosphere.
The new website is built in the university’s official content management system, joining the new websites from CCI’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) and School of Communication Studies (COMM). Designers and developers from IdeaBase (formerly known as The Tannery) and University Communications and Marketing (UCM) worked with CCI Commons Director Marianne Warzinski to improve the website. The new website is now also accessible on smartphones and tablets.
“We’re building for the future, as we know prospective and current students are spending a lot of time on smartphones,” said Chris Hallahan, UCM interactive designer and developer.
Students from JMC’s audience analysis class taught by JMC Assistant Professor Danielle Coombs, Ph.D., conducted research focused on what students would ultimately want from a redesigned CCI Commons website. The class conducted online surveys and personal interviews with current CCI Commons’ members and found that current community members are the experts and their stories should be reflected on the new website.
Shelby Muter, graphic designer at IdeaBase, was the main designer for the new CCI Commons website. She worked alongside IdeaBase Creative Director Ian McCullough, IdeaBase Business Manager Kristin Dowling and Hallahan redesigning the site to better reflect the personality of the CCI Commons.
“The main goal for the redesign was to reflect the energetic, collaborative environment that CCI Commons creates for Kent State University students,” Muter said. “Students in this living and learning community are hardworking students, but they also like to have fun. The new site emphasizes these qualities through the energetic photography, colorful typography and dynamic layouts. Current students, faculty and staff are showcased on the redesigned site as well. The authentic imagery and casual language featured on the new site accurately reflects the personality of this fantastic living and learning community.”
“As an outsider looking in, the new website gives CCI Commons a more distinctive branding and simplifies the user experience,” Hallahan said . “Everything is organized better and the content is more vibrant. Of course, we’re also excited about the website’s responsive design which allows the website to work on multiple screen sizes and devices.”
The website has icons that allow for easy navigation and show prospective students how to register for the CCI Commons and other programs within the community.
“This new website gives incoming students a better idea of what our community is about,” Warzinski said. “The site’s front page has a video of current CCI Commons’ students talking about why they joined. Each page gives prospective students a good feel of what CCI Commons is about – a place they can come and do everything they want as a college student. All students join CCI Commons for different reasons, but this is a place where they can come together and share their interest for communication and embrace common bonds.”