An Interactive Interface for Innovative Tech Research

Amanda Kohn by on Sep 12, 2016

responsive websiteTrends in higher ed fundraising have seen a recent focus on technology-themed campaigns, supporting the future success of students and faculty along with scientific advances as a whole. Two prestigious institutions—Caltech and MIT—just launched innovative campaign websites that not only employ best practices in contemporary web design, including responsive features that automatically update for different devices and eye-catching images that draw the readers’ attention, but also incorporate unique interactive and dynamic elements that stands out from their peers.

This year, Caltech launched its Break Through: The Caltech Campaign, which aims to raise $2 billion. Break Through seeks to empower Caltech faculty and students to transform the world in science and technology, and its innovative theme begins at the campaign’s sitelet, which makes effective use of white space to draw visitors’ attention to five representative members of the Caltech community (an undergraduate student, trustee, professor, graduate student and alum). The crisp, shadowed images change poses through hover-over technology. The site’s otherwise flat design makes use of tiled sections to cleanly promote announcements, events, quotes and the campaign progress meter. The sitelet’s success is clear, as videos, posts and photos are trending on social media with the hashtag #CaltechImpact. And the campaign has already raised $1.11 billion—over half of its goal.

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Caltech Break Through Homepage

MIT also rolled out a recent campaign, For a Better World, aimed at advancing its community’s work in the environment, health, science and technology sectors to bring change to the world. The $5 billion campaign is the school’s first since 2004, and funds raised will benefit research and resources relating to science, the environment, sustainability challenges, human health, innovation, entrepreneurship and education. The Better World website is designed to showcase the impact of MIT students and faculty around the world. The unique focal point consists of soundless rotating auto-play videos that showcase students and faculty conducting their diverse research. This video demonstration stands out for adding an eye-catching level of movement that traditional banner images and even carousels lack. The rest of the long-form, scrolling homepage incorporates tiled sections with crisp images for each campaign priority, aiding navigation and content organization. The site’s sharable infographics, quotes and more are trending on social media with the hashtag #MITBetterWorld, and over 77,000 donors have already contributed a total of $2.6 million in gifts and commitments.

mit campaign for a better world homepage 
MIT Campaign for a Better World Homepage

Both Caltech and MIT’s comprehensive giving campaigns offer a stand-out homepage and highlight the importance of funding research and resources for students, faculty and staff to change the world. The homepages each offer an interactive element, adding a new level of engagement outside of simply posting about a campaign on social media. The movement elements not only draw viewers’ attention but engage prospective donors to learn more about the campaign, browse the website and possibly make a gift. Other universities should consider following in the footsteps of these institutions by incorporating interactive web design that captures a browser’s attention—the first step in reaching a fundraising goal.

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

Amanda Kohn

Amanda is a Senior Research Associate for Alumni Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more