Any RMCAD Alumni Care to Weigh in on the School's New Site?

/ Comments (11)

Denver-based Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD) has just launched a new site, described as "in beta." Based on your experience there, any current or ex-students want to offer input on things they like or would suggest changing while they're still open to it? The site's here.



This is great!

ugh? great? that's the ugliest UI I've seen in a while. it's totally heavy handed, like it wasn't art directed at all. the IA is really bad when that's one thing they should have really focused on instead of all that visual clutter. look at the logo on those backgrounds!?! Barf.

I like the scaling ability of the UI... but the photography and that texture doesn't mix well. In fact, the photography could be much better.

Hey Egotist, thanks for the mention! I'm in the marketing department at RMCAD. While we are really proud of the site and have had a ton of positive feedback on it, we're definitely open to some constructive criticism on how to make improvements.

Any comments can also be sent to Anonymous #2, did you have some more specifics on ways in which you feel the IA is lacking? Feel free to send those to us—as I said, we'd love any constructive feedback the design community has to offer.

Typography in the menu is lacking some serious hierarchy, everything gets mucked together. Scrolling is awful, probably too many high res images along with too much damn content on the homepage. And I'm honestly shocked it got launched without any responsive testing. The tablet view is totally messed because the footer doesn't respond until mobile view. Furthermore the mobile view is cutting off a ton of content and the type is so small it's beyond readable. And bare in mind I never even left the homepage...

Honestly as an alumni it is a little bit embarrassing. Future potential companies may look at this site and not understand exactly what is going on. What kind of school is this?

The site feels as though it is dying for new students. While marketing towards new students is good, they should understand that these students are looking for an establishment that boasts higher education.

Artists do more than skateboard and browse the web...lets give them a little more credit towards the academia side.

In the future, it would be nice to see some successful projects or news items highlighted upon first entry.

It looks fine overall, but would have to echo others on the huge amount of graphics load and interactivity options presented on a scrolled homepage - there's just a lot of information trying to speak to many types of visitors all at once.

I totally agree with showing (the new) campus life - when I attended, it was two buildings across the street from each other stuffed behind a Kmart. :)

As an alumni, I come to this and feel thrust backwards. A landing page? This is not 1999. Redundant links all over the place - above the main navigation and in the footer. You are just cluttering it all up. Go with clean, intuitive navigation. Ditch the footer entirely and get rid of the redundant orange and cream links above the core navigation.

Agree no mobile/tablet testing seems to have been done.

The image takes awhile to load and really isn't that exciting. It's static. The web now is about energy, immersion, motion. Plopping a few videos in here and there does not really comes off like RMCAD does NOT get where the industry is.

I think the site previous to this one was better - with rotating stories on the home page and other snippets that would invite the user to come explore more. I feel like I have to know exactly where I'm heading on this's not intuitive or inviting to explore around. As a user, I must IMMEDIATELY decide where to go....with no enticing visuals to help guide me - just a bunch of globby text in the main navigation.

It also feels extremely heavy handed on getting NEW students - which I understand a college needs new recruits, it is a business afterall, but it feels like you are shouting/yelling to get new students...which feels rather desperate.

It's doing a rather poor job at really communicating the heritage and worth of RMCAD. The experience at RMCAD is about the level of students and the passion of the instructors and an administration that nurtures and supports that.

If the goal was just to scream at new recruits to APPLY NOW! good job.
If the goal is attract the best talent in student population and therefore put out the best graduates....well it fails. But maybe this is the direction RMCAD is headed in? No regard for its once great reputation....only concern to get enough 'butts in the seats.' Feels more like the ads I see for Full Sail.

im cross eyed.

I won't be redundant as some were in the comments. Follow these principles closely, i mean closely, and the site will heal itself.

Good Design Is Innovative: The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful: A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Good Design Is Aesthetic: The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Good Design Makes A Product Understandable: It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Good Design Is Unobtrusive: Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Good Design Is Honest: It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept

Good Design Is Long-lasting: It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail: Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly: Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible: Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Honestly, as an alumni, I can say it is a minor improvement. It has several very major problems. The most important being that it doesn't communicate clearly to any particular user set. It's UI gets in the way, and there are several confusing copy editing choices. Work on separating your target users better. At a glance I have several questions and comments. Hopefully they are helpful.

Questions to answer before you launch another redesign
1 Should the first photo you see be leaning to the left?
2 Why are there zero pieces of art or design on the home page?
3 Why are some menus in CAPS and others in Title Case?
4 Better yet. Why are the drop down menus in CAPS?
5 Have you read this article on typography?
6 Skateboarding is more attractive than your course offerings?
7 Why does the top navigation change on scroll?
8 Why do the footer links dim on hover? Counter-intuitive.
9 Why does "ONLINE LEARNING" have it's own mostly-the-same home page with a skateboarder and students on campus?
10 Who is the "HAPPENING NOWatRMCAD" section targeting?
11 Do those textures add to the design or get in the way?

· Read and live by Dieter's above principles.
· This is not ok.
· Use icons sparingly. They can add clutter very quickly and hinder reading. You might check out Symbolset for commonly used, well-designed, semantic icons.
· Don't advertise for social networks multiple times on your home page. You want to drive traffic TO your site from those.
"Why RMCAD" and "OVERVIEW" are redundant links.
· The bottom (not footer) menu does some very strange non-intuitive things. Also, it's redundant and can be deleted.
· In fact, on that note, that whole section should just be one tabbed page instead of eleven pages pretending to be a tabbed page.
· Same thing with the FAQs and Admissions sections.
· The FAQ questions should not be in CAPS or even Title Case.
· "NOWatRMCAD" is ridiculous. Switch it to "News" and call it a day.
· Orange may be your brand color, but use it sparingly.
· There is plenty of space to get rid of the word wrap here.

Good luck on the next iteration. I know you are a small staff and have put quite a bit of work into this.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Link = <a href="">This is your text</a>
  • Image = <img src="http://imageurl.jpg" />
  • Bold = <strong>Your Text</strong>
  • Italic = <em>Your Text</em>
Rocket Fuel