What was the scope of their involvement?
We redesigned the Bucknell website from the ground up. Once we committed to Fastspot, we were in constant communication with them. They were intimately involved in the site’s whole creative development. They were involved in offering and amending concepts and turning those concepts into an information architecture. They turned that information architecture into design and then brought the design to life, working with us very carefully on the content and material we needed to flush out the design. We were able to jump quickly into the design process because they were already familiar with Bucknell and we had worked together in the past.
We didn’t have a normal intensive discovery process, but we had a communication strategy that was developed around a discovery process we had done previously, including quantitative and qualitative analyses of the Bucknell community and culture. Most websites are built around how the institution wants to present itself, but we built it around what our users need.
Fastspot came up with the A to Z directory so a user’s search process goes straight to the information that is most typically responsive to the widest number of users, as opposed to providing an all or nothing option. The website, most notably the home page, remembers a user until the cache is cleared out. It serves each individual user the of content they prefer. When someone comes back to the website, the customized content choices they made loads every time the site is visited. At the top navigational field of the Bucknell website, it is oriented around the user whether they are alumni, student, faculty member, or admissions prospect. Depending on the answer, content most likely to serve the particular interests of the user is delivered.
What is the team dynamic?
On this project, we worked directly with 3 to 8 members of their team, including their technical, creative, and project management teams. In a project as intensive as this, both teams were deeply immersed in the work together, but Fastspot was creatively and technologically critical to every phase of what we did.
How did you come to work with Fastspot?
We called about 20 firms and talked to them about their culture, interest, and the kind of radical innovation we wanted to pursue on our university website. Based upon those very carefully vetted conversations with the firms, we narrowed our pool down to 12, and sent the RFP we developed out to them. Out of the 12 remaining, we invited three of those to come to our campus, and in every step of the process, Fastspot, which was a firm we knew already, impressed us with their proposal, presentation, and the type of questions they asked. They had to demonstrate they were committed to doing something truly innovative with us, as they had worked with us on our previous website redesign in 2009. Both the university and the Fastspot team were dedicated to creating something special that would serve Bucknell well.
My partner and I had worked with Tracey [President, Fastspot] and the team on previous university projects. In some ways, it created a higher threshold for them to win our business given how innovative we wanted this new site to be. Tracey’s presentation at the campus review meeting was original, fresh, and showed tremendous creative thinking. She brought different ideas to the table, more than any other firm, suggesting what was possible for the Bucknell site. When that presentation was over, we knew we had found the firm to take the creative steps we wanted to take.
How much have you invested in them?
That’s confidential, but their prices are among the most competitive in the business.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started this project with Fastspot in May 2013.