Case study previous Case study next

Designing American University in Bulgaria's Website

Redesigning the American University in Bulgaria’s website is a true success story positively received by the most important interest groups: the client institution (AUBG) and the actual users.

project type

Web, UI/UX

client

American University in Bulgaria

engagement model

Fixed Price

release date

January 2014

technology

ASP.NET SQL Server

 

Objective

The American University in Bulgaria (est. 1991) faced a need for a website redesign to fully reflect the dynamic institution AUBG had become. The main objective that emerged was to turn the website into a helpful tool to assist AUBG’s Admissions Office recruitment efforts, both informative and convincing to prospective students. It had to convey the message that AUBG is one of the best places in Europe to earn a liberal arts degree. This message had to appeal to culturally different people from around the world. As a secondary objective, the website had to further evolve as a useful resource for the AUBG community (students, parents, professors, administration, alumni, trustees, patrons), who relied on it for a wide variety of information and services. Additionally, the new website had to have a content management system (CMS) that was easy to support and update internally.

First redesign

AUBG turned to Melon for the first time in 2005 with a request for a complete transformation of their current website. Melon came up with a new functional and clean design powered by the company’s proprietary CMS to make the website’s support easy and intuitive even for people who were not particularly tech savvy. Well-received by the community, Melon’s original redesign served the university well for several years.

"The new look, easy navigation and intelligent organization of the AUBG website is a tribute to the skill, experience and dedication of our Melon team. The new site reflects the outstanding qualities of the University itself, and serves as a superb introduction for potential applicants, and other constituencies around the world. I am deeply grateful to the experts at Melon for their outstanding work."

David T. Flanagan, Chairman

AUBG Board of Trustees

Second redesign

Four years later, AUBG went through a process of redefining its mission and vision. Dr. David Huwiler, the university’s new president, contacted Melon to do a redesign that would reflect the updated university values and goals and communicate them to all stakeholders. Again, making the webpage more attractive and informative to prospective students was of the highest priority.

AUBG was well-served by the website’s global structure and CMS on the backend. Therefore, Melon’s focus for the second redesign was on the visuals and on accentuating the most exciting and important information the university intended to communicate to prospective students. The solution Melon proposed was a completely redesigned main page combined with catchy and informative text content structured in four sections defining life at the university. The dominant visual on the front page gives voice to a compelling story in each of four important segments of the AUBG experience, accessible as tabs.

Stories

  • “Live” – on all aspects of student life at AUBG outside of the classroom, from the atmosphere of the town of Blagoevgrad to the sports activities on campus.
  • “Learn” – on the benefits of liberal arts education and studying at AUBG in the words of AUBG students.
  • “Create” – on the rich variety of extracurricular activities on campus and student accomplishments.
  • “Connect” – on the university graduates and their success stories, reaching out to both alumni and prospective students.

Results

  • Тhe project received positive reception by the most important interest groups: the requestor (AUBG) and the actual users;
  • Google Page rank of 8/10;
  • In 2006, Melon’s first redesign won first prize at the 12th International Media Events Festival in 2006, Education Institutions Category. The website was distinguished by the international jury for its design, creativity, accessibility and functionality;
  • In 2010, the new design won Best Website at the Bulgarian Web Awards 2010, Science and Education category.

Client testimonial

"The new website is appealing, better conveys the energy and activity of the campus, and has become a valuable recruitment tool."

Dr. David Huwiler, President

American University in Bulgaria