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News . Feature Stories . CIA's new digital presence celebrates first birthday with honors

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October 25, 2013

CIA's new digital presence celebrates first birthday with honors

Website and mobile version of website both receive accolades.

CIA's new digital presence celebrates first birthday with honors

By Jennifer P. Grasso

Cleveland Institute of Art’s web and mobile site are making waves in the digital marketing industry and the recognition is hard earned.

Our digital presence is really our 24-7 front door,” says Vice President of Marketing + Communications Mark Inglis. “Students from out of state and from out of the country are getting their first look at CIA through the website, so it’s imperative that we are able to tell our story in a compelling way, and introduce Cleveland, through the web.”

With a top-to-bottom redesign of CIA’s website launched a year ago and a brand, new mobile site (m.cia.edu) launched last spring, Inglis and his team have found a compelling way to tell the CIA story. And now they have the awards to provide it.

CIA’s mobile website was honored with a Silver W3 Award for Best Mobile Site in the Education Category from the International Academy of Visual Arts. The W3 Awards honor excellence on the web – including websites, web marketing, web videos, and mobile apps – and recognize the creative teams behind these efforts.

The W3 Awards are sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from media, interactive, advertising, and marketing firms. Now in its eight year, the W3 Awards received over 4,000 entries for this year’s competition from ad agencies, public relation firms, interactive agencies, in-house creative professionals, web designers, graphic designers, and web enthusiasts.

CIA’s website will also be featured as a Webpick of the Day by Communication Arts on November 15, 2013. Founded in 1959, Communication Arts is the foremost source of inspiration for those involved in visual communications. The organization showcases the best in design, advertising, illustration, photography, interactive media, and typography. Communication Arts’ website, commarts.com, provides daily inspiration with its Webpicks of the Day, featuring outstanding examples of web design demonstrating superior aesthetics, technical expertise, functionality, and overall site experience.

Since the launch of its mobile website on May 28, the CIA site has had more than 120,000 visits, and more than 16% of that traffic is coming from smart phones. Overall, since the launch of the new mobile site, visits from a mobile device are up 6.2%, while the bounce rate has dropped a considerable 9%.

The creative team behind CIA’s digital presence is FORM, a Cleveland-based creative services boutique that specializes in interactive design for arts and culture and nonprofit organizations. FORM co-founders Steve Cencula and Teresa Kiplinger knew when they began the process of redesigning CIA’s web and mobile site about a year ago that it would be a challenge, but a welcome one. Kiplinger led the design of the CIA website, while Josh Slatinsky, FORM’s senior designer, designed the new CIA mobile site.

Kiplinger notes, “There was challenge in designing the site for such a broad audience – students, parents, faculty, alumni, and the public. We knew the front end of the site had to be very artfully designed to accommodate tons of content in a way that was easy to consume and to navigate. We’ve done websites for other educational institutions so this was the perfect blend of visual design and our past experience in similar industries.”

A member of the Class of 1991, Cencula served as an adjunct faculty member at CIA from 2004-2007. A longtime supporter and friend of the college, he has also served on its Board of Directors since 2003. “I have a deep involvement with CIA having gone there in the past. We’re quite proud of this recognition for our work with CIA. It’s really prestigious in our industry and we’re so happy to be chosen.”

Above, a view of CIA’s mobile website.

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