North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Launching a Growth-Oriented Website for a Public Residential High School

With a robust online program and residential campuses in Durham and Morganton, NC, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is a public STEM high school that educates students from across the state.

The school offers a wide variety of courses along with athletics, affinity groups, community service activities, and other extracurricular opportunities. Since its founding in 1980, NCSSM’s unique public-residential model has inspired the creation of numerous similar schools across the country and abroad.

As the school prepared to open their second residential campus, they reached out to us to begin the process of reimagining their digital presence and strategy due to our work with higher education website designs and specific familiarity with North Carolina. Over the course of almost two years, we collaborated with the NCSSM team to create a flexible, engaging, and user-friendly new website that elevates their offerings and works towards strategic goals.

Translating Findings Into a Clear Visual Direction

Using NCSSM’s established brand guidelines, we developed a bright and colorful approach that feels fresh to website visitors without sacrificing the familiarity of school colors and typefaces. The visual direction incorporates large-scale images, accent patterns, and graphics that create a welcoming landing zone for students, parents, and alumni.

The new design also presents information in a logical and intuitive way. The school’s three main program options are shown prominently on the homepage along with student stories, application information, and links to important interior sections. 

Content-Rich Custom Interior Templates

Like the homepage, the site’s interior layouts use images, statistics, and stories to paint a vibrant picture of what life is like for students at NCSSM. These elements add visual appeal and allow the designs to gracefully present large amounts of information.

To streamline the browsing experience, interior pages are thoughtfully connected with links that point users towards related programs, stories, and helpful resources. This approach builds user-friendly pathways through the site and makes it easy for site visitors to explore deeper levels of content. In addition, a clear header structure – complete with a persona-driven “Info For…” menu – makes it easy for site visitors to move between content areas from any page on the site.

Designed for Growth

Built on a flexible WordPress base, every section of the site is designed to scale with NCSSM as their content needs evolve and grow. Admins can use pre-designed content blocks along with standard text and image elements to revise existing pages, create new layouts, and add to the site’s robust collection of news and resources.