The Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University is an institute where inside scholars can connect with outside groups and local or global societies, in order to create an environment of information exchange between the University and surrounding communities. As a part of the Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Forum organizes programs at Duke and in Durham, NC for sharing research and inspiring discussion.
The Forum also hosts working groups and residencies for performing artists, journalists, filmmakers, scholars, activists, organizers, entrepreneurs, curators and others who contribute to its programs. In this way, the Forum acts as a place for students, academics and the public to utilize resources that help them learn and connect with each other.
The Forum for Scholars and Publics reached out to Verified Studios as the preferred vendor for Duke University web development. The organization needed to update its website to reflect the programs and happenings of the Forum in real time, and even share those programs with the world.
With so many activities going on at the Forum for Scholars and Publics at any given time, its website needed to be agile and fluid. And more than just showcase what was going on at the Forum’s physical space, the website needed to be interactive and connect easily with anyone around the globe.
Since the Duke Forum for Scholars and Publics is a unique institution with unique needs, the team was unsure of how to accomplish its lofty goals in the digital space.
Acting as an extension of the actual Forum, the site should be attractive, efficient, informational and collaborative. While Verified Studios is no stranger to developing sites that include beautiful form and function, creating a site that would include features for heightened response and adaptability was the crucial challenge.
The Verified Solution
Verified Studios built an entirely new and customized WordPress site for the Forum, emphasizing the facilitation of engagement through smart text; the use of images for navigation and information; video for learning; and discussion boards.
The new website would work to connect the physical presence of the facility and make projects and programs easier to find and explore.
As with most Verified Studios projects, the Forum liaisons received a designated project manager to walk through each phase of the website build. This ensures timeliness, accuracy, quality and adherence to the Forum’s vision for the website.
Build a site with capabilities for media-rich content and SEO text.
Include features that enable outside community to connect.
Ongoing project management to promote quality assurance.
Added platforms for improved user engagement and better results.
The Forum’s new website creates an online presence that truly reflects its initiative of connecting scholars and the public to build more informed societies. The new site enables the Forum to frequently make updates about programs and projects, actively engaging its audience.
Access to analytics tools allows Forum facilitators to see how their activities online are performing, and the custom-built content management system is user-friendly and intuitive.
Video hosting and the inclusion of live streaming functionality allow the Forum to connect visually with website visitors, showing, rather than just telling, program stories and lessons.