VCD student Web site receives outstanding achievement award

Michelle Bender

Two years of hard work paid off for Glyphix, a student-run design studio, when the Interactive Media Council awarded it an outstanding achievement award in the education category.

According to the Interactive Media Award Web site, the awards program was created by the Interactive Media Council to recognize and boost standards of excellence in Web site design on the Internet.

“We entered because we like to make ourselves known in the local market,” said Valora Renicker, assistant professor and Glyphix creative director. “It also gives the students an opportunity to get some awards for their resume.”

Visit the award-winning VCD student Web site at

Renicker said the council rates Web sites on design, content, feature functionality, usability, and standard compliance and cross-browser compatibility. She said the Visual Communication Design Web site scored 461 out of 500 points in those components.

“I’m really thrilled the students had the opportunity to win the award,” said Sanda Katila, associate professor and consultant for the VCD Web site. “It says a lot about the program.”

Lee Zelenak, VCD graduate student and designer of the Web site, was the only student to stay on the project for the whole two years. He said the reason why the Web site did so well in the competition is because of how user-friendly the site is and because it looks clean and simple.

Renicker said what makes the Web site good is its compatibility for the most users because all different kinds of browsers can use it. She also said the site is programmed in such a way so someone who is visually impaired and using a browser reader can still get all the information.

Renicker said the site took two years to design because Glyhpix is student-run, so it only operates during the fall and spring semesters.

Renicker said they spent the first year doing research, which involved looking at competitors’ Web sites and what other design schools were doing. She also said the second year was a big challenge because Glyphix had to merge all the research and information into the Web site map and make it a cohesive design.

“It involved a lot in terms of making sure the students stayed on track with the design, reviewing their research, helping them compile it to some extent and ultimately, finishing the content of the site and getting it launched over winter break,” Renicker said.

Zelenak said it was challenging because one Web site had to represent all the faculty and students of an entire program.

“It’s good to get these types of awards as promotion for the school,” Zelenak said. “It shows we can do this kind of work and says a lot about the quality of the program. It holds up against other schools nationally.”

Renicker said Interactive Media Council decided to give Glyphix the award in April but did not notify her until June 25, so when she received the e-mail it came as a surprise.

“We can only say we do a great job here at this school but it’s great to get some validation for the students, especially from something on an international level,” Renicker said.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Michelle Bender at [email protected].