Digital gallery for design students and grads
Universities can use technology in their favor to enhance the experiences of their alumni. Digital galleries are the first step to bringing their work to the world!
Universities have a lot of staff with very different needs and natures. For example, researchers need a well-equipped library, and scientists work better in a modern laboratory. At the same time, designers are well-known for creating awesome projects with their computers. History repeats each year: the university provides wands, and the students do the magic. It's a virtuous cycle that we love.
The next natural step (and challenge) comes by showing the final results. The digital world gives the perfect scenario for your students' projects' to perform. Sharing the alumni's creations is a way to open doors for their professional future and enhance the college's academic reputation. Also, it can be an effective way to be under the spotlight and catch the attention of students-to-be. Now, this is better said than done. There will be some challenges on the horizon, depending on the degree. The major leagues? The Department of Design, of course. In a nutshell, this is not helping anyone.
Designing for designers
Displaying the design students and grads' work is not an easy peasy task to undertake. Why? It's undeniable that all the videos, images, and other documents they work with are massive files. Universities juggle with all kinds of difficulties in the urge to share everything. The worst part is that, in many cases, institutions end up sharing a weird collage of projects with an unbearable slow loading speed. As a design student, I tell you: these pages are horribly curated and don't do justice to the projects.
What can you do? As I always say, there is not a one and only solution but plenty of possible paths to consider. I will take the opportunity to share my insight and advice as a design student. I always thought colleges could profit more from exhibiting designs like an art gallery and not like a photo gallery. I swear I'm not raving! Just keep reading.
First of all: please, ask for help!
Don't worry, even as an educational institution, you don't have to know everything. It's okay to ask for help when things are above your reach, like, I don't know, BUILDING A WHOLE WEBSITE?!
My advice? Look for professionals who can help you create a solid and attractive website that makes your current students happy and attract new creative minds. Also, asking for advice can give you another point of view and help you break the mold. Having said that, let's go back to the main topic.
°˖✧ The magical checklist ✧˖°
How can you know where to go? You can try guessing if you are making the most suitable decisions for your school. To help you a bit, I came up with a non-scientific but fun way to check if you have a future eye-catching digital gallery. The magical checklist will help you re-think your current and future steps. Want to give it a try?
Are you putting everything together?
If your answer is affirmative, it's time to back down to avoid a weird and probably complicated mash-up of projects. It's not about putting everything in one place but more about organizing it in the best possible manner. As tempting as it may seem, never put all your design degrees together. The most recommendable thing would be to divide each discipline into its own gallery.
Is it boring to navigate?
It's pretty simple: people will stay where they are having fun. Try finding ways to create a journey around your exhibition. Drupal and other content management systems let you integrate tridimensional tours into your website. Most people use it to "walk" around the campus, but I always wondered what a design exhibition like this would look like. No matter what technological option you choose, build a route. Think to yourself if you are providing a fun experience.
Is it repetitive?
Think of a real gallery! They usually have a permanent and a temporary exhibition. For this reason, old visitors keep coming back to see the last updates or novelties. Taking that idea to the virtual world can be attractive for new and known users. Also, a bidirectional methodology leaves space for creativity. Administrators can propose thematic exhibitions or invite old students to show how much they have grown.
Some additional comments
Please, note that creating a fun and innovative experience doesn't mean overcomplicating it. Always keep your user experience in mind (or, what is better, listen to a professional opinion). For example, if the gallery takes years to load, people abandon the site before seeing anything. At the same time, every process takes time, so don't rush. As you know, a well-thought and planned result will be better than a quick one.
Either way, if you answered or considered the previous questions, you are already in the right direction. Keep going! It may require a little staggering before walking firmly. Nothing new to you, right? The old and always present learning curve.
At Awkbit, we are always looking for new and inventive solutions to enhance your academic experience in the virtual world. We want technology and education to merge into one thing. Would you like to expand your limits with us?