SEI

Green Report Card Website and Application

How Green Are North American Schools?

The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) examines how sustainable North American universities and colleges are. In 2007, they came to smashLAB looking to extend their influence, simplify workflow, and streamline the data collection process. They also wanted to take their printed sustainability report card to the web, to extend its usefulness and reach. This meant that the new property would need to make multiple years of data clear and easily accessible to site visitors, while transparently presenting their grading system.more

Shaping the Brand and Technology

Due to the sheer amount of data to showcase and compare, coupled with the website's application components, this project required a huge number of wireframes and structural documents. This iterative design process was carried out on an aggressive timeline of less than 3 months, during which smashLAB assisted SEI with how to frame the organization, as well as the site's concept and visual design.

We also provided complete development of the front and back-end of the property, and all of the associated functionality.

Sustainability Data Proves Compelling

SEI has successfully transitioned their printed resource to the web, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. The final product is a fully content managed web app that integrates powerful filtering, sorting, and compare tools, as well as automated grade calculation. The carefully executed information design process helps convey how the grading system works; meanwhile, contributors can now readily enter findings while they are collecting data in the field. Additionally, the site continues to attract greater interest and general involvement. Read the reviews at greenreportcard.org.

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For students wanting to ensure that their school, or prospective one, is effectively implementing sustainability efforts, the Green Report Card is a mandatory stop. Its home page summarizes some of the most recent data, and provides quick links to key information.

Green Report Card summary
Green Report Card donate page

The site features a tabbed navigation system, which does a rather fine job of containing a vast array of data. Visitors can view results by year, rankings, institution, and so on. Additionally, they are invited to take part and help the program do its work.

A number of North American post secondary institutions are profiled on an annual basis, with their results compiled and documented in detail on the website. Curious parties can then review key information, including methodology, indicators, and so on.

For those more interested in schools within a particular geographic region, the interactive map serves as a useful means of sorting through institutions. Color coded tags make it easy to scan, while also providing a visual representation for how areas are performing relative to their neighboring states/regions.

Data collectors compile information on each school’s sustainability practices, and then feed this data into the web app, where it is parsed, tallied, and made more palatable to view on category-delineated pages like this one.

Green Report Card schools
Green Report Card about page
Green Report Card's twitter page

Pictured (from left to right): Compare functions allow users to contrast one school against the next; information about the organization and its practices are presented in a highly transparent fashion; the Green Report Card’s look and feel as applied in its Twitter theme.

Scope

  • Information Architecture planning
  • Exhaustive user interface design process
  • Website design and visual direction
  • Front end web development
  • Start-to-finish web application development

Key Benefits

  • Affords easier review of the Report's findings
  • Tools for comparison and custom report creation
  • Allows for data collection in the field
  • Clearly illustrates how the grading system works
  • Confirms the institute's authority and credibility

Technology

  • shiftCMS and MySQL database
  • Extensive web application
  • Automated grade calculation from an array of indicators
  • Powerful filtering, sorting, and compare tools
  • Automatic scaffolding of report card structure

Feedback

"smashLAB deserves special commendation for taking on the ambitious Green Report Card project... their creativity, patience, and attention to detail were exceptional."