New work: The Carleton Admissions site

July 28, 2009
By Matt Ryan

If you haven't yet visited Carleton's new Admissions site, you should.

When we set out to redesign the site, we first did a lot of research, trying to get as good an understanding as possible about what prospective Carleton students want to know about us. The main thing we discovered (we had a hunch, but our research confirmed this) was that the last thing a prospective student wants is to be told a list of superlatives by a faceless organization. Instead, it's far more interesting and useful to be shown the school rather than told about the school.

This insight informed our decision to structure the entire site around profiles of current students, who share their perspectives on Carleton. The students answered a wide variety of questions, both in written form and in video form, and each student got a profile page with their answers to these questions.

That wasn't quite enough, however -- we wanted there to be no "dead ends" on the site, and we knew that prospective students are curious about every aspect of Carleton, not just its student body (though that is, of course, pretty central). So we also set up profile pages for lots of other things -- academic subjects, campus locations, student organizations & activities, and topics. Every quote that mentions one of these both links to its profile page, and all the quotes, videos, and photos about that thing are brought together onto its profile page. We even gave the questions themselves profile pages, so you can see all the different answers student have given to the same question.

I hope you enjoy exploring the site. If you have any comments or questions, leave one below!

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