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LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT US:

We are a start up company in the education space. Were launching a web site that matches potential students with online degree programs and courses, based on their needs and interests. Our content includes an extensive database of programs and courses on a wide variety of subjects. The goal of the site is to help students find the best fit for them, whether its finding an affordable certificate program that will help them launch a new career to finishing up their bachelors degree online. In addition, well write helpful articles on key topics in distance learning, such as gauging employer feedback on online degrees; well rank programs on a variety of criteria, such as online MBA programs that cost less than $10,000 a year; and well provide helpful tools, such as an accreditation checker that shows if and how a school or program is accredited.

HERE IS WHAT WE NEED:

A home page for this information-richsite, that will be part Expedia-style search and part consumer news and information site. Your success in designing our home page could lead to additional design work for the site.

OUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS:

The average age of online students is 29, compared with an average age of 26 among all undergraduates. A majority of the students are at the undergraduate level (associates and bachelors degrees) and employed full-time while working on their degree. A little over half of the students are married and the majority own their own home. Most of the students plan to complete their degree online but are taking fewer than six credits currently. They are also new to online programs with the majority having taken fewer than three classes previously. Forty-four percent of the students have a graduate-level goal of doctorate or masters degree.

Online students are also more likely to be femalewomen constitute 63 percent of online students vs. 57 percent of all undergraduates. And students taking classes online are disproportionately independent. Of the independent students, 58 percent of those enrolled online had at least one child.

Breakdown by age:

20-29 year olds 34%

30-39 year olds 33%

40-49 year olds 18%

This site is consumer-focused, in contrast to most competitor sites, which push students toward schools that they have relationships with. We will provide an agnostic matching tool that emphasizes the best fit for the student.

WE LIKE THESE DESIGNS:

We prefer a minimalist design that emphasizes the wealth of information clean and simple with lots of white space. The navigation elements, where possible, should be in HTML text for good SEO bang. The home page will be a cross between a news and information site (think lots of editable feature areas, see www.guardian.com.uk) and a search site (see www.kayak.com for a very simple search without a lot of extra design). This site should look fluid and scrollable and should not be boxed in.

More sites we like:

http://37signals.com/

http://www.webbyawards.com/index.php

http://www.dwell.com/

http://smarthistory.org/

www.hotwire.com

WE ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE (or we don't want to see) THIS IN OUR DESIGN:

Horizontal navigation. See example sites for simple HTML horizontal nav. These dont have to be on a bar or buttons, but could be.

We dont want any fake, happy students jumping out of the page. No pink or purple please.

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