University website is a cut above the competition

At first site, it looks like a straightforward university website. But on closer inspection, strong use of large images, together with some subtle but effective transitions and scrolling effects, raises this site above the norm.

Titled 'You Decide', the site was designed and produced by Boston and San Francisco-based Weymouth Design for Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, to encourage new students to join the school. A stripped-down approach to information focuses attention on the key messages, and grabs attention instantly.

Weymouth art director Matt Amyot explains the agency "used HTML5 markup because it’s progressive and more expressive". Several new elements are used, along with data-* attributes to control the speed of moving elements on the site. "Getting semantics right is important," notes Amyot, "but worrying about getting them right 100 per cent can compromise on productivity. We do our best to find the right balance between the semantics and productivity."

HTML5 video is also used with the help of Projekktor, a wrapping library that does the hard work for you. Weymouth also found using HTML5 helped when prototyping. "With the semantics and relaxed nature of HTML5 (compared with XHTML), we find our design team can more easily approach rapid prototyping of concepts and frontend development, once the initial learning curve is tackled," Amyot says.

This showcase was originally published in .net magazine issue 235.

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