Come build the future with us
Shifting perceptions of a university & designing for the next generation of thinkers, techies & futurists.
EIGHTFOUR was appointed UX & Design agency for SIT to start from scratch in a redesign & redevelopment of their web experience that not only delivered world class UX and a fresh take on the brand, but shifted the perception of the university.
All these efforts had an overarching goal of making enormous amounts of information easily accessible, answering all questions, and most importantly, shifting the perception away from the notion that SIT was a polytechnic and toward being a legitimate university that uniquely focuses on practical learning, building the future and imbuing students with the practical skills needed for innovative industries.
How did we do it?: Over the course of 2020, EIGHTFOUR employed every part of the agency – Research, Planning, Content Strategy, I.A., Prototyping, Design, Content creation, Copywriting & Build – to create a comprehensive & all-encompassing site for the fastest growing university in the region.
“EIGHTFOUR was a key partner in SIT website refresh. Mathew and Angru were on point with their solutions, despite the complexity of the project. The new website design is dynamic and engaging. We are delighted with the final product and are excited to continue working with them on future projects to come.”
Always when we kick off a new project & we’ve spoken to all necessary stakeholders, it’s important to solidify where we think we are in the market, who we’re talking to, the challenges we face, and most importantly, where we’re we’d like to go next. This begins with a site audit and customer profiling.
To assess the competition and know where we’re situated in the market, we looked to competitors across the industry. We looked at all aspects of the online experience provided by both local and international universities and private institutions like design, ux best practice, messaging & copy, ease of use, unique features, content strategy and more.
Sometimes your initial assumptions are wrong, and having them proved wrong can alter the entire trajectory of a project. Having begun this project speaking in-depth with stakeholders, professors and group heads across all divisions of SIT, we’d assumed the motivations of students today were the same as decades ago: a desire to get out there; a longing to challenge and prove yourself. Not so.
We conducted a series of workshops over the course of a week with approx 40 participants and learned that students today exist in an uncertain world, shaken by the tectonic forces of innovation, artificial intelligence, automation & industry change. They’re less motivated by status and far more motivated by fear & uncertainty. Uncertainty that whatever they study may not be relevant in 10-15 years time.
To make matters worse, parents today feel unqualified to offer advice. What seemed like words of wisdom only a decade ago would nearly certainly be terrible advice today. Parents often feel overwhelmed by the changes in recent times and have no idea where to turn for help.
During the course of our workshops we uncovered another major issue: SIT wasn’t considered one of the “big 5” universities in Singapore. There was an element of prestige, pedigree and accreditation of the other uni’s that SIT simply didn’t have. SIT was instead thought of as a kind of polytechnic – a perception solidified by a cultural preference for more traditional career choices. SIT’s offering (Artificial Intelligence, design, aerospace, UX ‘etc’) was considered “new” and “risky” by contrast.
This was perhaps our greatest challenge: to use design & a new way of thinking and talking that showed Singapore (and the world) that SIT’s offering was unique and relevant to the modern world.
The answer was to shift the paradigm completely: to no longer think of SIT as a “traditional university” in the same vein as the others, but instead to reimagine and rebrand the school as something entirely different.
The great thing about not being able to compete with a long history of pedigree was the realization that we actually didn’t have to. Part of the reason why SIT wasn’t thought of in the same vein as the other uni’s was because SIT hadn’t distinguished itself as different.
But SIT’s offering, its programmes and its applied learning pedagogy truly offered something the other big 5 couldn’t. Relevance, and future proofing. What good is it to study for a career that won’t be here in 10 years time? Yet that’s what many are doing at the traditional uni’s, and that’s where SIT is different.
Our goal was to use the website as the first platform in repositioning SIT as an institution empowering the techies & inventors who’ll build the future, while the rest of academics is busy teaching the past.
Apart from perception challenges, we had a whole lot of UX to fix. Content/data heavy sites like this have a reputation of being difficult to navigate. By exploring different interaction models, we were able to design data-heavy areas of the site in ways that were easy to understand and effortless to navigate.
We can do a lot