The first time we set foot in the ICA's Digital Studio, we were in awe. Tucked away on the 2nd floor of the museum is a state-of-the-art digital arts lab with a secret clubhouse feel. You feel more energized and creative the moment you walk in, and it's clear from the music and the whiteboard art that teens own the space.
The central goal of this project was to transform the ICA Teens website into a platform where teens could share their own ideas and artwork, and invite others in. Along the way, we also wanted to make it easier for staff to get students signed up for the program and stay in touch with them over time. Here's how we approached it.
One very fun aspect of this project was getting to crash the teens' photography workshops to present our design ideas to them. The students amazed us with their sophisticated and astute comments. Our initial design directions incorporated some grungy, urban elements, and the students reacted by pointing us to the clean, sparse designs of certain fashion and arts websites they liked. We took their ideas back to the Loom and created a minimalist look against which the teens' own work could shine.
For many teens in Boston's public schools, the ICA is in a whole other universe that they know little about. ICA Teens staff do school visits to recruit students for the program, so we wanted the website's homepage to give students a glimpse into the studio, programs, and community that awaited them. We enlisted one of their digital video classes to produce a looping hero video for the homepage comprised of footage of everything from performance art to parties to artist interviews. We think it captures the energy and spirit of ICA Teens, and love how it turned out.
Another big goal of the project was to give teens a way to showcase their own artwork. Their portfolios can include any mixture of photography, video, or writing, and are curated by the teens themselves. Staff can have portfolios too, which gives teens a way to learn about their teachers.
The old registration process was cumbersome because teens needed to fill out a lengthy application even if they were already in the system. We streamlined the registration process to make it easier for everybody—whether a new or returning student, or a parent—to sign up for workshops. To us, that's one less obstacle in getting teens into the program.
On top of all this, we wanted the site to be easier for staff to manage too. Now, workshop registrations and students' contact info all flow into ICA Teens' Salesforce account so that they can keep in touch with everybody and don't have to double enter data. Check out our article on integrating Drupal with Salesforce for more details.