With the goal of challenging traditional university editorial/magazine/gazette websites, the Australian National University (ANU) commissioned Avenue to deliver a truly intuitive and engaging storytelling experience for all site audiences for its ANU Reporter website.
Through a cutting-edge “headless” website development, we created a solution that delivers engaging storytelling through a beautifully branded, high-level WCAG accessible website solution that showcases and communicates the great voices and stories of Australia’s national university.
Our mission was to break the mould of traditional university editorial and magazine websites and create a breath of fresh air in ANU’s digital presence.
It was time to shift the focus from common, stoic forms of presentation, to a fun yet informative digital experience that captivates all ANU stakeholders; students, faculty, staff, alumni, benefactors and the Australian public alike.
We created a brand new website that delivers an intuitive user interface created with engagement in mind. The end result encompasses more than just words on a page; it is a vibrant, and importantly, accessible experience for all who take part.
Ability for ANU staff to easily create immersive storytelling articles
We’re firm believers that the success of any modern website relies just as much on intuitive and easy administrative functions as the visual site design and functionality.
With this new website, creating visual stories has never been easier for ANU. Staff now have the ability to easily craft immersive stories through flexible content modules and types within the website CMS (WordPress) that captivate and engage audiences.
Thoughtful implementation and development of the CMS environment and functions was backed by thorough training and content maintenance documentation.
By providing a platform that embraces rich media and captivating content, ANU staff can present and bring narratives to life driven by bespoke website templates that include images, audio, video, social media and animated content transitions.
Multiple templates were developed to accommodate a variety of article formats, such as long-form narrative pieces as well as staff directories, allowing readers to truly immerse themselves within stories whilst intuitively being able to search and filter for relevant content. Navigation flows were structured so that different content categories, as well as related articles, could easily be discovered by users.
A unique yet consistent brand experience
Maintaining strong branding guidelines is essential for an organisation the scale and stature of ANU. So we partnered closely with the ANU digital team and immersed ourselves in their brand guidelines and created a stunning website interface solution that communicates university brand values expertly for the digital medium, whilst at the same time ensuring consistency across all brand touch points.
High-level WCAG Accessibility
Everyone who uses the new ANU Reporter website should feel welcome and find the experience rewarding. This includes site visitors with disabilities.
Accordingly, ensuring the website is accessible was vitally important to us and ANU, and we’re tremendously proud that it meets high-level WCAG 2.0 AA Accessibility conformity.
We liaised closely with ANU throughout the scoping phase to define exact requirements and expectations. Then through the UI design, development and content entry phases the solution was created to meet these standards and ensure the website provided equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities.
The need for speed
Slow web page speed isn’t just annoying, it’s massively detrimental to user experience. The website is blistering fast despite being heavily graphically rich.
This is heavily assisted by using a headless web development approach, as it enables faster loading times by reducing server calls for each page request.
Headless is a game changer
Our headless website development model provides a leading-edge technology stack that enables ANU to make bespoke changes without disrupting user experiences, functionality or its extensive content.
Through a React Native front-end and WordPress CMS back-end, it is a cutting-edge solution providing the ability for endless future scalability and growth.
Avenue was the perfect partner to ensure the ANU Reporter refresh was as creative, effective and engaging as possible, while being a delightful team of humans to collaborate with. We now have a site that does justice to the excellent research and teaching done at ANU and that serves as an example of how we can make our brand sing.
Digital Communications Manager
ANU Communications and Engagement
The new ANU Reporter was shortlisted in the IDA (International Design Awards) and received an ‘Honorable Mention’ in these prestigious global awards.