A Designer’s Take on the Latest Website Trends

2013 Dec 12
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As a digital art director, I’m often asked, “what are the current trends in websites?” This may be a topic you‘re curious about as well.

The current trend is that marketers are simplifying websites more than ever. Instead of using clever navigation and design to express their company’s brand, marketers are making the brand apparent–more and more–through the delivery of the content itself. Consuming that content has subsequently become much more of a rich experience.

With this in mind, the question then becomes “how can we make our content more enticing to read?”

  • Should we use an infographic?
  • Is video an option?
  • Or, maybe the content you decided to tactfully use is just what the user wants to read in the first place, so there’s no need to spice it up at all.

The reason behind this change is related to changes in technology itself. Users are on mobile phones and tablets more than ever. Screen sizes have decreased.  As a result, less space is available for communicating through an interface. And the primary content the user is coming to see in the first place becomes the focus.

In total, too much information and excessive clicks can overwhelm and frustrate consumers. Focusing on reducing the amount of content and increasing the quality of what remains has never been more important.

Matt Mefford, Senior Art Director

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Top tools for effective digital communications

2013 Apr 30
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A colleague recently asked me, “What are your top 5 digital tools?” I started jotting down notes on the essentials, and came up with a top 9. While five would be lean, and a top 10 would be a nice round number, I really wanted to focus on the essentials—the must haves for the current [...]

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Three Communications Pitfalls that College Recruiters Should Avoid

2013 Jan 30
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Happy 2013! This is a big year for our Lipman Hearne Student Panelists, who are graduating high school in a few months and heading to college in the fall. We’ve had some insightful conversations with our high-achieving panelists recently about which factors make the difference in their college search decisions, including this past November in [...]

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California dreaming: lessons learned from a logo redesign wipeout

2012 Dec 21
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There’s been a huge ruckus in recent weeks over the launch of a new logo by the University of California system.  The mark has been variously described as looking like a flushing toilet, a Swedish cake roll, and a washing machine label.  On Friday, December 14, the University officially responded to the backlash by suspending [...]

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Social media and the college search: real insights from real students

2012 Nov 5
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“How do students actually use social media throughout their college search?” This is a question we often hear while working with our higher education clients. To dig into this topic, along with a host of other subjects, Lipman Hearne gathered together a panel of 20 high school juniors and began to follow them through their [...]

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Report from the 2012 conference, “Social Media Beyond the Basics”

2012 Oct 19
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From September 17-19, Anne Petersen, Director of Digital Strategy,  and I attended a three-day workshop with Academic Impressions. The workshop, titled Social Media Beyond The Basics, looked at higher-level social media strategy and tactics with a focus on enrollment management, advancement, and managing student workers. Though my professional background is in higher ed social media, [...]

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When a Crisis Hits Campus, It Helps to Know Your Client

2012 Oct 16
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Much has been discussed regarding the recent botched attempt to force a leadership change at the University of Virginia and the resulting public relations crisis that followed. The Washington Post recently reported on the PR missteps, which demonstrates the limitations of traditional public relations during a crisis like the one that engulfed U Va. If you’re [...]

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From parchment to touch-screens—vehicles for sharing information continue to evolve

2012 Oct 1
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This afternoon, people in Huntsville, Alabama won’t be able to walk outside and pick up their dead-wood-and-ink copy of The Huntsville Times. The Times, along with three other Newhouse Newspapers in Alabama and Louisiana, cease publishing a daily newspaper today. This is an especially sad day for me. For all its limitations, The Huntsville Times [...]

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Calculating the value of a college degree? It’s time to go back to school.

2012 Sep 14
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The chattering higher education opponents, led by horror stories of students who were foolish enough to borrow $200,000 and end up with a double major in comparative religion and nonverbal performance studies, continue to raise the question of value of a college degree. Yet even when his hedge fund was hiring an analyst, Peter Thiel—who [...]

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Bored by cookie-cutter annual fund efforts? So are we.

2012 Aug 14
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Those of us working in the philanthropic marketing space know that the alumni giving landscape is constantly changing. As new and innovative approaches evolve, older practices must continually be evaluated, reconsidered—and sometimes abandoned—to ensure philanthropic efforts remain vibrant, engaging, and ultimately successful. One recent finding from Eduventures shows that student callers are more effective in [...]

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