The launch of a new MICA website on Sunday, March 8, 2009, was the culmination of a three-year effort to create a unique college Web environment developed specifically to meet the needs of one of the nation's top colleges of art and design. To achieve an ambitious vision for its online environment, MICA selected three internationally renowned firms to execute the site: information and interaction design are by Adaptive Path, a San Francisco-based firm whose clients include Flickr, PBS, Greenpeace, and Microsoft; visual design is by Happy Cog, a firm founded by Jeffrey Zeldman with studios in New York and Philadelphia, recognized as an international leader in Web standards-based design; the content management system is by Ingeniux.
Rather than opting for a site that emphasizes a flashy visual experience to highlight MICA's national leadership in visual art and design, MICA has developed an institutional website whose focus is on the needs of the user: simplifying and streamlining content access, enhancing interactivity, and creating opportunities to engage the College's diverse constituencies and build community.
The impetus for the new site's user-focused approach came from a two-year planning process by the College's Web Steering Committee, whose members represent every major audience group (prospective and current students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents, friends, and the international art, design, and higher education communities). That process yielded a Web Vision/Mission statement that has guided the entire redesign process by setting three key goals: communicate the College's mission, vision, and future directions to the larger world; provide a place where the College can interact with all of its constituencies with the same professionalism and service orientation they've come to expect from MICA's real-world operations; provide a place where members of the MICA community can connect with one another and remain connected to the College.