Accessibility + Aesthetics

Yale school of management wanted to reach a young digitally-savvy audience. Square360 showed them how to cut through and communicate.

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THE CHALLENGE

Simplifying complexity.

When Dean Edward Snyder took over in 2011, Yale School of Management (Yale SOM) ranked among the top 10 graduate business schools in the world. He had aspirations to put it in the top five within a decade. This raised everyone’s expectations — students, faculty and alumni alike. And it shined a bright light on the difficulty and frustration of navigating the loosely connected web services of its som.yale.edu site.

Enter Square360. We were charged with creating a web presence that simultaneously addressed specific requirements of Yale SOM’s varied constituencies while retaining a clear commitment to the school’s larger objectives. For example, Yale SOM needs, above all, a strong application pipeline to attract elite students and executives. But to pursue a healthy growth of top-tier candidates, Yale SOM had to also connect with its vast constituency of thought leaders, from consumers of conventional business publications to readers of academic literature.

There was also the issue of alumni routinely forgetting their passwords, which suppressed engagement and other problems highly specific to that group.  What’s more, Yale SOM’s progressive audience was rapidly adopting new technologies — reflected in a 97% annual increase in mobile traffic. Changes had to be made to stay relevant.

 

SOLUTION

Make Yale easy.

For Yale SOM’s flagship site, we started with focus. Square360 stripped out nonessentials and clearly differentiated various content in a minimalist, mobile-first design experience. Overlaying that foundation we created sophisticated, micro-applications that enhanced discoverability, accessibility, and presentation. This included:

  • A card system to distill the overwhelming volume of analysis, news, social media, and events into consumable, contemporary snapshots
  • A search concierge to provide instant, predictive connection to common behavior flows
  • A media player to highlight key messages and surface-rich, narrative content 

But that’s just the beginning of the story.

Insights

Insights is a Yale SOM publication that focuses on long-form analysis of important issues from global business to sustainability. Square360 expanded publishable media formats to concentrate on videos and podcasts and built a novel “collections” feature to organize disparate viewpoints into complete narratives.  

Student Portal

From a confusing labyrinth of systems, Square360 transformed the portal into a unified, productivity tool that offered students a platform for real-time calendar subscriptions, management of internal announcements, collaboration in career discussion groups by topic and focus, and instant directory searching.

Yale SOM Alumni

To cultivate engagement among the alumni community, Square360 and Yale SOM rebuilt from the ground up. A new homepage tile system remodeled the presentation of news and analysis through the eyes of alumni, giving the highest visibility to the most popular engagement tasks (e.g., searching for classmates and reunions).  We extended single sign-on integrations with popular social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) to simplify the convenience of maintaining contemporary profile information. And, as our coup de grâce, we revolutionized their alumni search to be more accessible and useful

 

Success

Numbers don’t lie.

  • In 2014, applications jumped nearly 25% and through Round One of 2016 application cycle, applications turbocharged another 29%
  • Applicants from Global Network Countries have jumped a whopping 51.6% from 2012 to 2015
  • At 43%, Yale SOM now counts itself among the handful of top-tier schools where women have the greatest representation in the full-time MBA class
  • Yale SOM experiences 2 million visits; 6 million page views/year, an 83.5% increase of traffic to online application (+113.5% desktop, +65.4% mobile)
  • Student portal: 600,000 page views (indispensable resource)
  • Alumni: 175,000 page views
  • Insights: 490,000 page views (+16%)

 

 Sources

https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/yale-university-01257