Website redesigns are more than content and code. They are (or should be) a thoughtful and strategic process to improve a college’s largest publication. In this presentation I’ll talk about lessons learned during the recent redesign of Western Oregon University’s website. Late in the process we discovered a variety of issues that would have been prevented through decisions and discussions early on. Learn from our mistakes and find out how you can streamline your redesign process, help communication among involved parties, improve campus buy-in, and avoid settling for a website migration.
Redesigning and relaunching an academic website is a complicated and often difficult process. There are multiple stakeholders and most of them have some say in what does and does not happen during the process. In 2015 the ILR School at Cornell University relaunched their website under severe time constraints that left many internal and external groups feeling marginalized. Surprisingly, the resulting fallout gave their web development team the opportunity to change a long-standing siloed culture in the school. Participants will learn: - the process and methods of moving a site from commonspot to Drupal - the pros and cons of moving a site quickly without ideal input - the content strategy behind this kind of move - the process of migrating content - how to clearly identify their audiences and stakeholders - how to foster culture change in your organization after something goes wrong
From Netflix to Spotify to Amazon, prospective students are accustomed to personalized websites that offer recommendations to help them discover new content or products. When they arrive at most college and university websites the experience is very different. It can feel static and generic by comparison. The culprit? In order to tame the massive amount of content and competing priorities of college websites, a one-size-fits-all home and landing page approach has proliferated. When North Central College decided to redesign its website they wanted to break that one-size-fits-all mold and engage tech-savvy prospects with an experience that felt different from other school sites. With agency partner Spark451, North Central took cues from non-higher ed sites to develop a concept called “stacks.” Stacks are topically bundled content cards. For example, a photo of a faculty member, a video, a student quote, career facts, all related to a particular major. Stacks allow for things like curated categories, and can be embedded into landing pages, news articles and other types of content. They help North Central repurpose and surface content in strategic ways that support admissions efforts. Attendees will learn how North Central took a radical approach to organizing its content to create a user experience that’s different for higher-ed but feels familiar (in a good way) to prospective students.
Whose Website is it Anyway? (UAD8)
Learn how two University at Buffalo (UB) communications professionals reached across departmental lines in a decentralized graduate admissions environment to collaborate on an integrated and engaging website redesign. The focus of this presentation will be to discuss how we developed a messaging strategy tailored to students rather than internal faculty and staff, and utilized existing resources to improve operations and the overall web user experience at UB. We will also discuss the political and organizational barriers that communications professionals often face while collaborating on university-wide projects and how to overcome them. This session would benefit those who are part of an admissions, marketing, recruitment or student services team who are looking to improve internal and external communication through their website. Learning Outcomes/Objectives: • Identify your primary and secondary website audiences • Auditing existing content based on audience needs • Identifying and reducing internal lingo and industry jargon • Improve user experience through collaboration
At Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences, we've seen it all: a nursery school, an archaeology collection, a slang dictionary, a collection of 10th century manuscripts, and a wide variety of academic departments, interdisciplinary programs, and research projects. We’ve redesigned over 50 websites in the last two years - and we make it a priority to learn and reflect on each one. What makes a client well poised for a web redesign, and how do we get them there? Why do plenty of big agency projects fall flat? How do we educate clients about project costs? When do sub-sites make sense? And of course how do we balance projects vs cross-cutting initiatives vs time for the team? Learning Outcomes * Matching projects to different redesign formats * How to be the most attractive option for a website redesign (cost, security, branding, accessibility, support, and maintenance) * How to allocate a team to invest in initiatives and create long-term dividends * Design thinking tips to build an effective team
Using analytics and qualitative data, Farmingdale State College implemented a simple, yet powerful Bootstrap design. The site’s information architecture now aligns with their audience’s expectations, so visitors are able to locate information without confusion. Since going live in June 2015, admissions questions have been reduced by 22% and inquiries for general information have decreased 14%. Additionally, their new modular design makes life much easier for content contributors, who are now actually looking forward to attending training sessions. In this session, Sylvia will discuss their redesign process, including their analysis of analytics, the information architecture overhaul, and the preparation and launch of the new layout.
We Can All "Do" User Experience (UAD11)
In higher education, and especially at smaller colleges and universities, some of our most critical web functions -- prospective student inquiry gathering, online gift forms, etc. -- are farmed out to third parties. Why? Because they’ve already got the tool we need, and we don’t want to reinvent the wheel. However, the solutions we buy are often focused exclusively on making US happy, not our users. They provide good data output and reporting… but what about the user experience of inputting data in the first place? We need to recognize that these functions are far too important to leave to non-designed interfaces onto which we slap our logo and primary school color. When we redesigned our online giving form at Colgate, we took the time to think about design -- not just for aesthetic, but for user experience. With minimal cost and a lot of goodwill gained, we executed research and testing throughout the project, and reached the end result of a visually stunning, easy-to-use form that helped drive a measurable increase in the online giving rate. In this presentation I will share the methods we used -- borrowed heavily from the work of Steve Krug -- to reach our successful outcome, and how they can be used by teams of any size to vastly improve project outcomes.