The Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies (IMAS), based in Hobart, is globally recognised for its marine and Antarctic research and education. IMAS attracts many international graduates and researchers.
The website needed to reflect IMAS' international status, attract prospective students and researchers, and care for current students, researchers and staff.
This was an interesting project due to the incredible work that IMAS researchers do – the both the Antarctic and the oceans could be said to be the last "frontiers" of our planet, and are extreme and captivating environments.
There were also some challenges due to their previous website redesign project being unsuccessful – after a year or more of work with another agency, that project had stalled. We were brought on board to provide a fresh start, however it also meant there were some unusual requirements such as working from an existing sitemap and wireframes.
My role as designer was to set us on a new, fresh path while respecting the work that had already been done and that the client wanted to see reflected in the designs.
I read their strategic plan, researched similar and non-similar institutes, and presented them with some consolidated values and a suggested brand personality that I could use as a foundation for their visual direction.
I then made use of their stunning imagery to set the scene and communicate their unique work. I also thought about the different audience types, the hierarchy and layout of landing and content pages, and how users could confidently navigate between the levels of the site.
Looking at the page designs and site architecture now, I can see where a stronger hand might have given them a better longer-term outcome. The client was very happy with the smooth design process, however, and felt confident that their audience needs and business goals were clearly addressed.