Students design Surrey website

June 24, 2004, vol. 30, no. 5
By Trina Ricketts

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Three students from the school of interactive arts and technology (SIAT) have been given the opportunity to design the SIAT website and to come up with a graphic identity for the school this summer.

The paid contract was awarded to Ryan Betts, Caleb Buxton, and John Owen after they competed with three other teams by submitting proposals to a panel comprised of SIAT faculty members and administrators.

“We worked very hard and pulled an all-nighter to develop an in-depth proposal and get it in on time,” says Owen. “It felt really good to be chosen for the contract.”

SIAT was created in May 2003. Until now, it has not had its own website, but has had information about its programs and people on the SFU Surrey website. However, with other programs being offered at the Surrey campus starting this fall, SIAT director Tom Calvert decided the program needed its own site.

Jane Fee, one of the panel members, says the process reflected real-life contract bids and provided good experience for the students.

“Many of our students are digital designers and we believe they are leaders in digital design. Our students are here to help evolve the website over time and it gives them a sense of ownership,” says Fee, a SIAT faculty member and special advisor to the Dean of Applied Science.

Betts, Buxton and Owen say they decided to submit a proposal because of the opportunity to shape the identity of their school and to enhance their career options.

“We wanted to make sure our program is represented properly,” says Buxton. “And we wanted to get our ideas out there.”

“We wanted the street cred - to gain credibility among our peers, faculty, and the design community in general,” says Betts.

The website and the new identity will be launched later this summer. So far the team has come up with a preliminary design for a logo for the school. They are now working hard on the website design as well as innovative programming features.

For example, Buxton came up with an idea for a new navigation system which involves inputting key words in a search box which will take visitors to the exact information they want. Other plans include a research database that is updatable by research faculty and students and a collection of student and faculty work available for viewing on the site.

“SIAT is the signature program of SFU Surrey,” says Fee. “We want to show the vision of SIAT through the use of the components of the program - design, interaction and technology.”

The development of the SIAT website will be coordinated with Media and Public Relations to ensure that it is consistent with the University's usual identity, says Terry Lavender, SFU Surrey's commun-ications manager.
“We want the SIAT site to reflect the school's unique culture, but also to be recognizably a part of the SFU community,” he says.

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