This fall, Pratt has started on the redesign of its website, a year-long project spearheaded by the Communications and Marketing division that will be a collaborative effort involving the Pratt community. Director of Web and Digital Communications Sarah Hromack discusses the process below.
Can you give an overview of the website redesign project and its goals?
I am thrilled to be undertaking this project, as it brings so many creative challenges and poses significant opportunities for the Institute. Our goal is to redesign Pratt.edu as a dynamic website that showcases Pratt as a global leader in higher education by emphasizing the work of the students, faculty, and staff who collectively make the Pratt community unique. The overall approach for this project will be one of strong consensus building. We have engaged a very talented outside agency to collaborate with us on the design and build of the website. Two committees—a steering committee and an advisory committee, each of which is composed of faculty and staff representatives from across the Pratt community—will meet regularly to advise and publicize the project. Guided by Pratt’s Digital Communications and Creative Services teams, as well as the committees, this project will unfold over the course of the current academic year in a series of phases.
Who will design the new website—and why did you choose them?
The website will be designed by Upstatement, a Boston and New York-based digital product studio whose recent higher education clients include the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Vanderbilt University. My colleagues and I interviewed a series of notable agencies through an RFP process, and Upstatement stood out not only for their visual design acumen but also for their deep knowledge of and experience within the news-editorial and higher education spaces. As a studio, Upstatement was born in the newsrooms of the New York Times and Boston Globe and as such, their design approach is heavily invested in strong storytelling, which is how we talk about Pratt in the world through our news articles and beyond. Upstatement is also strongly committed to working on projects with which they are ethically aligned, such as those focused on the environment, for example.
When does the project begin? What will the process look like?
The project has kicked off with the first and most exciting research and design phase, which the studio refers to as the “Vision” phase. Upstatement is conducting group interviews with approximately 130 stakeholders across all areas of the Pratt community while working closely with the Digital Communications and Creative Services teams to design and build a website that is as useful to a variety of audiences as it is beautiful. Upstatement is excited to be undertaking this project at a school like Pratt, where so many faculty, students, and staff are committed to design excellence.
How will the Pratt community be involved?
Our goal is to work as expansively and transparently as possible while involving the community in an open, genuine way. We will work closely with the steering and advisory committees across campus to ensure that the project is moving in the right direction. Digital surveys will be issued to the entire Pratt community, so everyone will have an opportunity to tell us what they hope to see in the new website. Please continue to read the news page on Pratt.edu as well as the Pratt Now e-newsletter, as project updates will be posted here as the project progresses. Finally, please watch your inbox for emails inviting you to participate in the digital survey.
When will the website launch?
After an extensive technical, or “build” phase that will last through the spring semester, the website is slated to launch in the summer of 2022, just in time for the new school year. Questions or comments may be directed to email@example.com.