To commemorate its 250th anniversary, Brown University launched Imagine Brown 250+, a website to showcase and honor the past, present, and future of Brown. Anniversary websites are few and far between, let alone one celebrating a monumental 250 years. Brown seized the opportunity to set a new standard for commemorative sites.
The challenge for Scott Turner, director of web communications, was to create a site that could act as a hub for the celebration.
We wanted a robust site that could act as a calendar, but also engage all of our audiences with a mix of content. We wanted a standalone place where people can learn what Brown was, what it is at 250, and what it can be. — Scott Turner, director of web communications
mStoner CEO Voltaire Santos Miran and Doug Gapinski, strategist and creative director for the project, worked with the Brown team and stakeholders to bring this vision to life. Content was a top priority that ultimately shaped the look and feel of the site. It focused around five storylines that successfully married 250 years of historical information with the new.
The result is a highly interactive, multimedia driven, responsive site with social baked into its DNA. Imagine Brown 250+ has many dynamic features that encourage participation and conversation. People can contribute to the timeline and galleries, share a video memory, find and register for events, and tag content with the hashtag #Brown250.
Including crowd-sourced content allows the public to have a footprint. It lets their voices be heard and their experiences with Brown be part of the celebration, no matter where they are in the world. — Doug Gapinski, mStoner strategist
Creating a touch-friendly, responsive design was also key to the site’s success. “A lot of our traffic comes from mobile devices, so we needed a site that scaled nicely to smaller screens. We wanted people to optimally access the site from a variety of devices,” said Tom Padula, Brown’s project manager.
Another prominent feature of Imagine Brown 250+ is the Opening Celebration page, where, visitors can find videos and stories from Brown’s numerous events, including keynote lectures and the fireworks display. During the opening weekend, Brown streamed live video of all its events. This became an integral part of the celebration, allowing participation by those who couldn’t be there physically.
“We’ve never done anything on this scale before,” said Turner. “We now have a historical anniversary site with content that will live well beyond the celebration.”
Building upon the institution’s already venerable reputation, while appealing to a discerning alumni population.
Assessment, planning, strategy, prototype testing, site design, Drupal implementation, social media integration, and technical training and support