Thank you to everyone who took time to vote on which web design they liked better! Your input was super important. We’re still working on finalizing the “winner” – but I should have something to show everyone before too long.
The information architecture process is coming along nicely as well. It’s a lot of organization and cross-referencing to look through almost every page and see where it fits in the puzzle. It’s one of those projects that will never be completely finished – we’ll just keep tweaking as we go.
As always, if you have questions or comments feel free to fill out the form on the left or contact me directly.
Happy July! -J
I wanted to share a few bits from the website assessment report we recently received from Paskill Stapleton & Lord. The report covered a lot of information from the focus groups that many of you participated in as well as giving us a good idea of the direction we are headed as we proceed with layout and design.
A complete redesign of Central Methodist University’s website to better tell CMU’s story is the purpose of this project. The redesigned site should:
- better reflect the value of a Central Methodist University education
- be user-friendly for CMU’s diverse constituent base
- recognize that the primary constituent group for the redesigned website is all prospective students
- focus on enrollment
- keep an eye on other key constituent groups: alumni, parents, faculty, staff and current students
Qualities that Represent CMU
Qualities that were chosen most by all the focus groups included:
From the Summary – On Content
The marketing of the University is done first on its website. Almost every prospective student will look at the website at least once, usually many times before becoming a student or choosing to attend elsewhere. It is important that the website engage the prospective student through the entire admissions and enrollment process.
The content of a website, and its dynamic nature, are a good part of why a prospective student wants to return to that website.If they see the same images, read the same stories, and don’t learn anything new about their own experience, they will not return. The development of new content, review and revision of all existing content, and the migration of all content to a new site, is likely the biggest task to accomplish in a redesign.
Content is not just copy. It is images and graphics that tell the story, communicate marketing messages, and engage the prospective student. In a redesign all of this must come together on pages that are meaningful, not to those who create the pages, but those who view the pages. We heard in the focus groups that much of the content on the CMU site is based on what internal audiences want prospective students to know; the challenge will be turning this idea on its head, and creating a site that is designed, written and developed with content that the prospective student wants and needs, so the prospect will see how they will benefit from the CMU experience.
Before the site launches, there will be a number of steps in the redesign process:
- information architecture
- development of new content
- review and revision of existing content
- prototype development
- HTML development
- integration with OU Campus
- migration of content
Stay tuned for the next steps!
We’ve been busy in the background on our redesign project and are getting ready to start a new project that is essential to our redesign – the event calendar.
We will be upgrading our event calendar over the summer. It will look a bit more modern than our current calendar and should work a bit better on mobile devices. This is a great step forward and something we can implement a bit more quickly than the full redesign.
We’ll be training in the new admin system in June, so I should have a few teaser images to share soon!
We have a tentative schedule for our little web redesign project. Things will change as we go through this process – there is always a bit of give and take when a project takes so many months, but it’s a good starting point.
Research Report Delivery: 5/2
Information Architecture Development: 5/2 – 6/9
User Interface Development: 5/23-8/16
Content Development: 7/21-8/24
CMS Integration & Set-Up: 9/28-10/25
Content Migration: 10/26 til finished
Launch date: TBD
Thank you to everyone who participated in a focus group this week. It is so important to hear from many different constituents at the beginning of this process. We really appreciate your time and input.
The next step is waiting.
PS&L will compile a report from the focus groups, our website analytics, and other research. Once that is in hand, we will have a better idea of the direction we need to go.
Thank you again!
As part of the research phase of our redesign, we’ll be holding focus groups to gather opinions from the CMU community. Representatives from Paskill Stapleton & Lord will be on campus March 8 & 9 to facilitate focus groups. We are scheduling meetings with various CMU groups to gain their insight as we start down this road.
CMU Students, Faculty, and Staff are encouraged to sign-up to attend a session!
It all started with an email from President Drake…
In the words of our own Jenny Anspach, “we are blowing up our website and building it back.” As you know, our website is by far our most important marketing tool. Prospective students across the country use university websites as their primary tool in the college-going decision making process. From our website, they infer institutional quality, value, and fit.
We have selected Paskill, Stapleton and Lord to assist us in this redesign. Their familiarity with our campus, their understanding of our market, and their expertise and experience in website redesign made them the logical choice. Jenny Anspach, in our Marketing/Communications office, will be leading the process.
Jenny and I need your help; this is a huge undertaking. Jenny and her team will be facilitating discussions and forums across campus to ensure that everyone’s needs are taken into consideration. If asked to serve on a panel, please consider participating in this process. Even if you are not asked to serve in a specific group, communicate your needs, your suggestions, and your thoughts directly to Jenny.
It has been quite a while since we have performed a true redesign of our website. I’m excited about this new initiative and the promise it holds for our University.