The CMSI (for short) Design Smart challenge is a competition between the New Media Web Design and Computer Programmer/(Analyst) students attending Niagara College where students in groups or pairs go head-to-head against their fellow classmates and compete for a cash prize.
The groups are given 4 hours to design and develop a professional website based on a client’s needs and requirements that align with the respective business goals. Groups have the flexibility to create a unique looking website so long as it adequately represents the values the business would like to portray to the public.
This puts the students to the ultimate test by using real world scenarios for not only designing and developing a website but also presenting. A huge part of making it in this industry is not only creating a great website but one that works for the business generating leads and converting customers.
We at HWD put a lot of time into user research ensuring that the design is not only elegant and portrays the business properly on the web but also that it’s going to communicate to their audience the best! That the specific calls-to-action are going to lead visitors to the proper areas of the website to make those conversions, that the actionable items are solving their problems of pain whether it being generating revenue or awareness.
Another part of presenting the design that will teach the students is explaining why they made certain decisions. All too often designers in this industry are afraid to provide reasoning to simple questions like “why is this a dark shade of blue” and we answer with “oh, I can change that no problem, here let me do that now!” Sometimes, your expertise is needed. Maybe you chose that dark blue so the contrast of the logo or links, or call-to-action stays in focus, or that it was simply part of their branding guidelines and you needed it to stay consistent. Providing honest feedback and explaining reasoning will go a long way with selling a design decision.
We’ve had the privilege of being a part of (and winning) the first design smart challenge hosted by CMSIntelligence and Niagara College Canada and are proud to announce that we will be judging along with 2 of the partners of CMSInteligence Larry Chartier and Frank Coy as well as long time distinguished Niagara College Instructor and Joe Lapinski.
Larry Chartier runs a captivating blog for designpreneurs (designers wanting to start their own entrepreneurial initiative). Read Larry’s blog here.
Frank Coy has an extensive knowledge in business development, business growth, client communication and deep understanding of everything financial, Connect with Frank on LinkedIn today, I am!
Joe Lapinski (nickname Joomla Joe –back in the day) has a deep desire for teaching both students in his classroom and his clients. Joe creates a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere for all of his students and brings years of experience to every website he works on. Check out his Linkedin page today!
We can’t wait to see what tomorrows competition has in-store! Stay tuned to learn about the case study and the prizewinners!
Good luck everybody!