net magazine - - GALLERY - Up­state­ment www.up­state­ment.com

The stereo­typ­i­cal univer­sity web­site tends to be a pretty ster­ile and dated af­fair. How­ever, with the Har­vard Grad­u­ate School of De­sign site’s re­design this sum­mer, Up­state­ment has set the bar se­ri­ously high. “The GSD is a fan­tas­tic place where all kinds of amaz­ing ideas are be­ing gen­er­ated, and we wanted to re­ally bring out the sto­ries and top­ics in­side the school and sur­face them in a way that show­cases the ideas and en­ergy of the com­mu­nity,” says Mike Swartz, part­ner at Up­state­ment.

GSD’s de­sign is strik­ing, play­ful and ag­gres­sive, though it stands back and en­ables con­tent to show through when it needs to. Thought­ful an­i­ma­tions are in­ter­twined at the right mo­ments, with­out be­ing over­whelm­ing. Ev­ery hover state in­vokes an an­i­ma­tion, help­ing users to in­ter­act with the con­tent. The use of im­ages is pur­pose­ful – none are used as a back­drop or a tex­ture. All have a func­tion and most are pre­sented with a com­ment.

On top of all of the vis­ual com­plex­i­ties, the devel­op­ment team be­hind the site took this project to an­other level. “Mike Burns, Up­state­ment’s engi­neer­ing lead on this project, worked with the school to col­lect and mod­ernise their in­fra­struc­ture, com­bin­ing it all into an API pow­ered by Word­Press,” says Swartz.

The Up­state­ment team knew this de­sign was a suc­cess when lead­er­ship and fac­ulty at Har­vard summed up the re­design with: “It’s weird, but I like it.”

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