Chatham Hall

Small School, Big Experience. Bringing the world to rural Virginia.


A boarding school needed help convincing potential students and their parents to make the leap from curious onlooker to full-time resident. We rebuilt a Flash-based microsite and revamped their main site to craft a unified, authentic picture of the Chatham Hall experience.

View full website

Chatham Hall was coming into their own. Since NewCity designed their site in 2003, they’d added some top-notch scholars to the faculty, built a couple of superb international service-learning programs, hosted world leaders on campus, and sent graduates to some of the most prestigious colleges in the country.

They needed a sophisticated new website to match, something that captured what it was really like to be a student there. The current site had an interactive “experience piece” that told student stories with photos, video, and testimonials. But it was built in Adobe Flash, which made it very flexible design-wise, but basically rendered it useless for viewing on iPads and iPhones. (This was particularly disconcerting given that the school had an award-winning iPad-based education initiative.)

Polishing things up

To tackle technology updates and help them build a more immersive online experience, we prescribed the following:

  • Convert Flash-based interactive microsite to Javascript/HTML for use on Apple mobile devices
  • Incorporate larger, more engaging photos into template designs
  • Write content that gives real reasons to consider an all-girls school
  • Showcase international service trips and travel opportunities

Telling the real story

The new interactive experience piece proved to be an even bigger undertaking than we thought. But with some close collaboration between developers and designers, it became the centerpiece of the new site.

We also focused their visual and written content needs on some new landing pages based on user testing results for what people were looking for. Each main navigation section now has a parallax-based landing page with big, beautiful photography and crafted microcopy that work together to tell a story and direct users deeper into the site.