To use their words, “Teq is an innovative learning company, dedicated to championing the evolution of the modern classroom.” They provide professional development for teachers and educators by giving them solutions to improve student learning through technology integration. The ultimate goal being, of course, student achievement.
We like to say a logo isn’t a brand, but since it is easily the most recognizable part of your brand it can be a good jumping off point for setting the tone. This is where I want to start with Teq. Reason being is that when I initially heard of them, I began to build my own picture of their brand in my head and what I got when I visited their site was completely different. That may sound bad, but in actuality it’s pretty fantastic. Their logo is bold by color, structured in shape, yet whimsical by type choice. And I think that says a lot about who they are and what they do. Highly held beliefs, a strong process and not afraid to show their true colors.
Teq says they embraces a 21st century learning environment and well, they also embrace all of the fun things about web development that add a bit of life and spice to your site without letting it get out of hand. And structurally, they support the idea that users scroll and will continue scrolling below the fold to get to the information they desire. Something reinforced by the fact that there is no sub-navigation to their simple, yet colorful menu bar. But we’ll talk a bit more about that later.
The homepage is built like a layer cake. Meaning the content is broken out as horizontal bars stacked on top of one another. We have a nice large billboard area as an section of importance and that is followed by a very simplified “Who/How/What” information layer. If you blink you’ll miss it, but they did a good job of turning these typically large bits of knowledge into easily digestible nuggets. It’s funny to think that 5 years ago, this section would have made up 50% of a standard website. Delving deeper we reach a layer of latest news built as a slider of sorts. What makes this section so oddly playful is that when you click left or right to get to the next story, the information dynamically loads differently and completely at random. I found myself playing around with it to find out how many different ways. I lost count at 7.
The page continues down and extends to show more page-linking that would typically be in your sub-navigation for the Solutions and Services sections, if there were any. That’s the one thing that had me scratching my head. The text links below these seemingly standard sections take you to pages throughout the entire site. Which in a way can cause a little confusion because you really don’t know where you are going. In fact, this is the only way I think the site begins to falter. Navigation. Say I am an administrator and know exactly what I want. I want to learn about their administrator program. If I was on the homepage, I would have no idea how to get there. Would I instinctively know to click on ‘Professional Development’, then scroll down to text link under ‘Professional Development Catalog’? I’m not sure. But then again, I’m not their target audience.
The secondary site pages themselves are still built as layers with the scrolling model intact. I fall into the category of people who have no problem with scrolling, so the fact that I can simple move down the page and wait until one of the bright and distinct section headers grabs my attention is not an issue for me. The information is divided so clearly, that you would be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t find it easy to distinguish and locate the information they want on that page. It’s clean, modern and somewhat fun. Something I talked about here.
This leads me to one of the most eye catching things about Teq’s brand, and that is there use of color. The palette is bright, bold and refreshing and it used with such effectiveness throughout the site. Colors divide and organize the pages. They make the sub-section headers stand out, and even make for a nice icon system on the Professional Development Model page. You can just tell they know that bright colors bring out positive emotions and they are using it to their advantage as much as possible. It’s one of the main reasons I was initially drawn in.
In terms of functionality, the stand out page would be their events section. It’s most effective because of it’s simplicity. I love that it is a calendar of events without showing a standard calendar. It’s just a seemingly endless list of events that is filterable by event type and location. The event types (online, certification, free, etc.) are color coded which adds to cleanliness and organization of it. You are given the bare essentials – date, subject, location and then pointed to the registration page. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. The word I would use to describe the section is ‘pleasant.’ It’s not a typical descriptor for something like a webpage, but since I find it visually appealing and easy-to-use, ‘pleasant’ just works.
The Teq visual brand is really in the driver seat of this wonderful site. It sets the tone for which the content is delivered and some how just makes you feel at ease. Very knowledgeable, but down to earth. Inviting, yet informative. These are the hallmarks of site that retain visitors, while respecting and fulfilling their needs all at the same time.