News Roundup — Higher Education Digital Marketing

Ideas & Insights from Research & Design

Students pondering ideas on a whiteboard.

Ideas & Insights for January 2018

We'd like to take this time to wish you a pleasant Happy New Years! Last year, our firm had the pleasure of advising a select number of higher-educational institutions reach their digital objectives.

 We anticipate an even more thrilling 2018 and looking forward to helping more universities and colleges discover and implement their digital goals. As always, here's our monthly roundup of articles and tools that we believe to be valuable for your work in higher-ed:


  • Why Higher Education Needs Design Thinking. Via FastCoDesign.
    Human-centered design as a framework for learning and guiding problem-solving is the approach we strive to breath into any project we take on.
  • What the Failure of New Coke Can Teach Us About User Research And Design. Via A List Apart.
    "User research is just as much about the way the research is conducted as it is about the product being researched."
  • New to design sprints? Want to increase effectiveness of future ones? Here are some steps to help maximize design sprints. Via Smashing Magazine.
    Design sprints are a great way to quickly and inexpensively test out your marketing and branding assumptions and make more customer-centric decisions. We’re very familiar with sprints and often rely on it during our implementation phases.
  • An effective university tuition landing page - every student has obvious financial questions - why not meet them with a helpful and concise landing page like this one? West Virginia University "Tuition" page.


  • Mobile Disruptor of the Year: Augmented Reality. Via Mobile Marketer.
    "With Apple making the tech more accessible to mobile developers, and the fact that the latest devices are coming with AR capabilities already installed, many marketers are betting the future of the tech will be on smartphones."
  • Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers. In an eyetracking experiment comparing different kinds of clickability clues, UIs with weak signifiers required more user effort than strong ones. Via the Nielsen Norman Group.
    We've seen the trends over the years: grunge, minimal, round, shadows, flat. There's nothing wrong with having your website design be fresh — we like flat too. But it must never impede a good user experience for your particular audience.
  • Mobile Interface Myths you should throw out the window. Via Smashing Magazine.
    An important phase in our consultancy is research and discovery. During this phase, we dissect and test all assumptions to truly find the best path for implementation. Be careful not to fall trap of any interface myths and research any assumption.

For Fun

  • Top #highered Holidays Cards – 2017 Edition. Via CollegeWebEditor. To inspire your holiday greetings for next year — most of them are videos, and there's a lot of creativity out there.
  • Delight users by designing the empty states (empty shopping cart, to-do list, etc).
    It's a similar concept to taking the time to design the error pages on a site - 404, for example - it only takes a bit of extra work, and yet helps connect users with your brand.
  • Do's and Don'ts of Brand Lessons From 2017. Via FastCompany.

Missed Last Roundup?

  • Read the latest on interruption marketing, insights with small research budget, three megatrends for next decade of digital business, Facebook's latest on mobile-first, accessibility video podcast, and more.

Research & Design is a design and technology company. We direct our focus to tackling problems within higher-education—working with colleges, universities, and companies serving higher-education institutions—to solve problems through digital communication.

At our core, we are focused on solving problems through clear, concise websites, applications, campaigns, and digital communication. We believe in design as a way of thinking and problem-solving that can be applied to almost any challenge.