The collaboration between Yale and Fastspot on the Yale website, yale.edu, resulted in an experience that honors the storied and rich history of the University, as well as the powerful offerings and work that define Yale, its programs, and its people.
The Yale.edu project is an exercise in thoughtful editing. The project came together through successful collaboration between the Fastspot and Yale teams over design choices—making careful decisions about when to push for an immersive feature, when to choose a direct approach, or when to eliminate something entirely.
The success of the new website comes from the ability to execute elements of layered storytelling and embellishment with precision, while letting other moments sit in quiet, beautiful simplicity.
The new look of Yale’s web presence is clean and spacious, a far cry from the many of the crowded sites we often see in education. It was important for Fastspot to offer a pleasing experience regardless of device size. At individual breakpoints we considered measure, interactions and the relationship between elements to improve the reading experience for site users.
Much More than a School
When a University has an eponymous font crafted by renowned type designer Matthew Carter, the bar is inarguably high. With collections that rival those found in major art museums and research facilities that have introduced countless health and medical advances, Yale is much more than a University. Part of our challenge would be how to express the specificity of Yale’s unique position.
An Archive of Inspiration
Yale continually produces significant news and stories, specifically because it is supported by the highest quality people, facilities, and holdings. This essential relationship is the cornerstone of the new homepage, allowing content writers to build a lasting archive of important stories paired with the inspiration found at the core of the Yale experience.
A Closer Look for the Curious
Anchoring the new homepage is a “curio cabinet” highlighting the diverse centers, clubs, galleries, and facilities at Yale; the parts that make Yale whole. The user is invited to wander into unexpected moments of discovery as he or she can shuffle these highlights or filter them to his or her specific interest.
A major consideration of the Yale redesign was the larger technological ecosystem at Yale, upon which so many of our decisions were dependent. The choices made in design and technology for Yale.edu will have far-reaching impact upon hundreds (if not thousands) of Yale sub-sites. Fastspot's development team needed to present approaches that were sustainable by Yale's Information Technology Services team, and that can be perpetuated for a larger roll-out across the many sites they support, now and in the future. In short, this project represented the tip of the spear for all that's to come for Yale University's online presence as a whole.
Yale’s content editors and contributors needed to be considered, as well. Much of the Yale web presence (including this redesigned site) is built on the Drupal content management system, which provides a flexible and powerful platform, but isn’t known for being easy to use. Taking cues from the design, we built an editing interface that allows Yale team members to create and reuse components on the fly, rearranging and editing content seamlessly.