Is your campus map built for the online world?
It’s an understatement to say that we look at a lot of different campuses and their maps. As web developers we think a lot about how an experience should look online compared to offline. For an offline world a .pdf printable version of a map in a nice fold-able brochure is perfect, but when you are online there is so much more you can do with the experience.
Allows for a deeper level of engagement
With the modern web there are amazing things you can do with video and other forms of content. Besides a flat 2D piece of paper you can provide people with sights, sounds, visuals and a whole wealth of content that could never fit cleanly on a single piece of paper. Visitors are able to dive down as deep into your content as you can provide. This allows you to tell the story of your campus and institution in so many amazing ways.
You are able to get into the history, culture and personality of people and places on your campus. These are all crucial elements to the recruitment process. It also allows engagement for other important audiences who might not physically spend a lot of time on your campus.
Provides points of reference for content
Publishing and sharing a video of a previous event or pictures of areas of interest on campus are very powerful campus marketing tools. Providing this sort of information tied to an interactive map of campus allows you to provide additional context around this content. You can visually and quickly enable people to connect the dots of where this event happened or where the area of interest is in relation to other locations on campus.
It’s really important to stress just how important providing a point of reference can be in helping people to engage with content. It’s true that content is king, but context is also extremely important.
Experience campus without visiting campus
Ultimately the whole reason for a good engaging online campus map is to allow people who can’t easily visit your campus to still be able to take a tour or just explore campus. It could be that a prospective student has ten schools they are considering, and the fact they can take an engaging virtual tour of your campus is the reason that you reached their final two or three options that are worthy of a physical visit.
We think it’s just as compelling and realistic that you have an alumnus who hasn’t visited campus in a decade or more and has no idea how campus has changed. Because they are able to see various places where they have fond memories or new structures that they didn’t know existed it could be the deciding factor that helps them reconnect and possibly even donate.
A completely different audience is those people who are going to be visiting your campus sometime in the near future and want to get acclimated with the surroundings before showing up. Maybe they are simply looking for a specific building where an event is being held and trying to figure out the best place to park. The fact that you can pull them deeper into your culture, history and surroundings while also helping them find where they are looking to go isn’t a bad thing, is it?
Ultimately, serving constituents in the online world is very different than serving them in the offline one. Through the wonderful technological advancements in the web today people also have higher expectations of what should be provided to them by your online presence. Having an engaging and content rich interactive map of your campus is just one of those ways that you can step up to the plate and exceed their expectations. It is also one of the few attention grabbing enhancements that you can add that has the ability to impact and engage so many of your different audiences in compelling ways that is unique to each of them.