Collaboration: Chewonki and the Maine Coast Semester
In the fall of 2015, RainStorm began planning for the three phase multisite project with our longtime friends at Chewonki. The first project we were to tackle was to reimagine and rebrand the Maine Coast Semester online experience.
A typical RainStorm partnership on a project is between us and the client. The Maine Coast Semester project was unique in that RainStorm had the opportunity to also collaborate with Chewonki’s marketing team at Right Hat. With Right Hat’s help sculpting the information architecture and providing early art direction, the team of three worked efficiently and effectively — producing a web experience that supports Chewonki’s new brand direction.
RainStorm began by digesting and analyzing the extensive marketing reports provided by Right Hat to help determine what would be needed for their new web presence.
We began the process be analyzing the new sitemap and determining the different kinds of templates that would need to be designed and developed for their new content direction.
Once the varying page types were identified, we created our set of wireframes for this future design to lay out the features and elements to include. From there, we began bringing to life the set of wireframes with full-color mockups.
The extensive wireframe process for this project allowed us to quickly arrange elements and experiment with layouts before committing to a design. Once we locked in our arrangements, this aided in the smooth design translation phase.
A New Focus
The focus and importance of academics at the Maine Coast Semester for this new brand direction was paramount. We were able to use a number of design and development choices to help achieve this new direction.
RainStorm conceptualized and executed a new way to add relationships across all pages of the Maine Coast Semester— with a focus around the faculty and academics. This puts an emphasis on the Faculty at the school and makes sure they’re presence is felt everywhere on the site that they are responsible.
For example, if a faculty member teaches mathematics as well as helps run the on-campus farm, their staff profile will be linked across both the Math and Farm pages. This links them and leads people back to their central staff page where prospective students and parents can see all the places at Chewonki that the faculty member works. This helps increase visibility and gives a personal touch to all facets of the school.
Additionally, the faculty page acts as a hub for all things relating to the teacher including their blog posts, their curriculum pages, biographies, and photos.
The Maine Coast Semester project also provided RainStorm with the opportunity to upgrade Chewonki’s technology across the board.
With a backbone of WordPress and RainStorm’s countless custom integrations, the Maine Coast Semester staff are empowered to have complete control over editing and updating their website. The multisite environment for all of their future websites will provide a central space for their administrators to control content, users, and more.
Seamless integrations with existing software such as registration and donations systems give Chewonki’s Maine Coast Semester the full online experience and the edge to stay competitive.
The most important objective for an educational institution like Chewonki is that prospective students can see themselves there. With their all-new website, we’re confident that the Maine Coast Semester will be able to tell their stories more effectively than ever.