The Culinary Institute of America approached Ashworth Creative to build a presentation platform that could be used by its admissions counselors. The end result is a platform that allows all presentations to be navigated fluidly (not just in a single path like standard PowerPoint presentations), ensures that all presentations follow design standards to portray a consistent image for The Culinary Institute of America, and enables new content to be distributed instantaneously to counselors scattered throughout the country. The platform also allows presentations to be delivered to a room full of students via a connection to a projector or one-on-one via the touch interface of an iPad. I sat down with Auden, one of our graphic designers, to get a better understanding of what went into creating this.
Q: How did this idea come about?
Auden: When The Culinary Institute of America approached us, they wanted something that would improve their existing method of managing and distributing multiple PowerPoint presentations to counselors across the country as there was significant overhead associated with making an update and ensuring that everyone had the correct information. They also wanted something that could be easily customizable depending on the audience.
Q: What was the technological process?
Auden: As with all projects we take on, the design and functionality led the way and the technology followed. The front-end needed to follow certain specifications and integrate everything under the scope of the project including designated trivia questions, horizontal slide functionality with area for lots of rich content, and four different avenues of flow, but keeping in mind that users needed to easily navigate back to the beginning. The color schemes and imagery were also approved by the CIA.
Accommodating content in a non-linear fashion was definitely a new obstacle for our development team; however, with effective planning and the elegant use and customization of existing tools, we were able to develop a back-end as intuitive as the front-end, on time and on budget. As with any project, content is king. The Culinary Institute of America provided us with great copy and photography, so the platform is a true show-stopper. We were also able to incorporate the school’s campaign theme, “Food is Life,” as well as their official school colors so that it was truly a custom product.
Q: Why do you think this was effective?
Auden: We were able to offer the CIA a platform with a simple administrative interface that allows for the creation of easily navigable and highly customizable presentations. Additionally, presentations can continue to grow and contain as much content as they want. We have provided them with the technological aspects and they are able to change the content as they please. We believe that any good solution is one that can grow with an organization and the presentation platform definitely fits that bill.
Q: What is the CIA’s reaction to this?
Auden: The staff at The Culinary Institute of America was excited by the design of the first presentation and was eager to learn how to take the wheel when it came to managing content through the back-end. Their staff was fast at adopting the platform and so training was fast and effective. As their staff continued to use the platform, questions surfaced so more tweaks were made and additional features were added. If upon adoption the product continues to be enhanced, it is a good sign for long-term adoption.
Q: What other companies could use this type of platform?
Auden: The platform is ideal for organizations with teams that have a large variety of information to share. I don’t think it should be pigeonholed into a few particular industries. In fact we are developing the same software for a construction management company, and would love to see it adopted not only by college admissions departments but also development. The platform allows presenters to adapt to the desires of their audience on the fly and allows staff in charge of content to distribute updates instantaneously. Personally, being that I have a great interest in fashion, I would love to see it used by a company in fashion to show all the elements of a new clothing line.