John Gearhart Pucci | 07.23.18 | User Experience Design

Alumni Build the World: Using Data Visualization to Re-engage with Alums.

  • Data Integration
  • React
  • Three.js
  • UI
  • UX

Continuing a connection with alumni after graduation can provide a valuable form of support to higher education institutions. But maintaining that relationship can prove more difficult over time.

It’s a busy and noisy world, and people are careful with their time and attention. If you don’t give them a good reason to pay attention, a college’s email correspondence is usually assumed to be an ask for money which in turn causes alums to tune out.

With email marketing campaigns proving less effective, Advance_360 was looking for a disruptive product, something that could break through the noise and attract alumni who were completely disengaged from their client’s alumni association.

Make ‘em say “WOW”

The mission was simple: make disengaged alumni say “wow” — and inspire them to become more engaged.

We were asked to come up with a way to use over 100 years of alumni data to tell a story that would represent a university’s spirit, sense of innovation, and capture at least a little attention from a disengaged audience.

During the discovery phase, we worked closely with Advance_360 and a team of university database administrators to unearth and organize all the available data. We realized by using de-identified data from the university alumni database, we could show the expansive reach of a university and its alums without compromising privacy. This informed our strategy and the resulting product was the Alumni Visualization Engine.

On its own, data doesn’t tell a story. But it can point the way.

Here is an example of a full individual (alumni) record from the university’s database:

  “majorDesc”:”Political Science”,
  “school”:”Arts and Humanities”,

We wanted to give alums an interesting way to see the distribution of data over a geographical region and compare proportions of alums over geographic regions. The data used connected university alums with graduation date, location, degree earned and program.

Rather than simply listing the facts, we wanted to make the data relatable, compelling and visual. Wrapping the data around a story helped bring data to life. It gave mundane data points new meaning with the ability to tell a story about a university’s impact and connection to thousands of communities around the country.

The Alumni Visualization engine was built over the course of 9 weeks using React and Three.js, with Google Firebase backend and hosting.

The first product release launched recently alongside a media campaign to drive traffic. We look forward to continued involvement with the project as the product gets marketed to other universities. The next product launch is slated for sometime in Q4. Enjoy!


Louisiana Entertainment

New Orleans design and development performed with support from Louisiana Economic Development’s Office of Digital Interactive Media & Software Development.

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