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Guidelines for a Campus Website Refresh

December 13, 2014

Guidelines for a Campus Website Refresh

Delivered to Mount Sac Collegge


December 13, 2014

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  1. #AItraining Brett Pollak | University of California, San Diego |

    [email protected] Website Refresh best practices, governance, stats, predictions and other good stuff 
  2. 2 My Background • Director, Campus Web Office (CWO) at

    UC San Diego • 5 ½ years at UC San Diego • Web Development field since ’01 • 4 years supporting mobile devices WHO AM I?
  3. 3 Experience delivering to higher education • High Ed Web

    • EduWeb • Eduniverse • Higher Ed Live • LINK Journal for Higher Education WHO AM I?
  4. 5 About the CWO… Chancellor Business Affairs Admin Computing CWO

    Academic Affairs Health Sciences Communications
  5. 6 Qualifying academic & administrative units can host and maintain

    their websites with us free of charge Our Services
  6. 7 OUR MODEL AND PHILOSOPHY • Funded centrally by state

    money - No recharge • Emphasis on self-service, self-sustaining technology • We provide the tools, training, and frameworks • Clients provide the content and maintenance ABOUT THE CWO…
  7. 12 • Single text column using HTML • Mostly text

    and hyperlinks • Embedded images around 1994 Early 1990’s Web Design
  8. 13 • Table based layouts allowed for multiple columns •

    Websites were a combination of sliced images and HTML Mid 1990’s Web Design ucsd.edu in 1995
  9. 14 Late 1990 & 2000’s Web Design • Animation •

    Flash • CSS/JavaScript • Web 2.0!
  10. 22 May ‘11 – ‘12 3.1 M May ‘12 –

    ‘13 UCSD mobile Page views
  11. 26 78% of respondents have regular access to a mobile

    device 43% of students reported using their mobile devices as the primary device for browsing the web Trends in college bound students’ research
  12. 27 Students felt the website impacted their perception of the

    institution How is your institution perceived?
  13. 28 82 percent said they preferred to look at college

    Web sites on a PC/laptop instead of a mobile device. However, 68 percent said they have viewed college Web sites on a mobile device. Trends in college bound students’ research
  14. 30 College website is most influential to prospective students but

    it’s not the only thing they consider What influences prospective students?
  15. 31 2012: 79% of respondents used Facebook in their research

    2013: 67% of respondents use Facebook in their research Facebook is losing steam…
  16. 33 Top college planning websites 1. CollegeXpress 2. College Board

    3. Peterson's 4. The Princeton Review 5. FastWeb 6. U.S.News & World Report College Planning Websites
  17. 36 Top 5 things prospective students are looking for 1.

    Does the school offer what I’m interested in academically? 2. How much does it cost? 3. What are the dates and deadlines for enrollment? 4. How do I apply? 5. What’s campus life like? In Summary, your website is important
  18. 37 Consider having entry points for students who are at

    different stages of the admissions process The impact of mobile devices
  19. 38 Allow prospective students to interact with your site and

    calculate cost of attendance The impact of mobile devices
  20. 39 • Optimize the user experience for mobile devices using

    adaptive or responsive design • Allow prospective students to opt-in to receive communications via email, text, and social media • Ensure email communications also are designed and tested for mobile • Your website says a lot to prospective students about your institution. Errors and unprofessional content or images hurt your brand. • Keep content fresh and showcase what makes your university unique • Make the top content accessible through clear action paths Conclusions
  21. 44 Examples & best practices Think from the prospective students’

    point of view. Consider the stage of applying they may be in
  22. 46 Examples & best practices Use responsive web design to

    make sure your site is optimized for all resolutions
  23. 47 • One website who’s layout automatically conforms to the

    resolution of the device accessing the site • One set of code to maintain • Cross platform: works on all modern browsers • Frameworks include Twitter Bootstrap, Foundation3, HTML5 Boilerplate, etc. RESPONSIVE WEBSITE
  24. 48 • SEO friendly: duplicate content isn’t indexed twice like

    with mobile site • Link friendly: sending or sharing links are optimized for the device the recipient uses • Optimizes website not just for mobile but for larger screens RESPONSIVE WEBSITE
  25. 51 Your website is not an encyclopedia for your school

    Less is more Your audience doesn’t read, they scan your site The content you provide is far more important to your users than your logo or any images Website refresh mantras
  26. 52 Your website is not for you (or your boss)

    Identify your key target audience
  27. 53 A website for everyone serves no one very well.

    • Current Students? • Prospective Students? • Parents? • Staff? • Faculty? • Alumni? Prioritize your audience
  28. 54 1. Does the school offer what I’m interested in

    academically? 2. How much does it cost? 3. What are the dates and deadlines for enrollment? 4. How do I apply? 5. What’s campus life like? Develop 2-3 goals for the site
  29. 55 Examples: 1. Funnel prospective students to our Admissions site

    for conversion to our CRM 2. Showcase achievements to enhance prestige to all audiences Develop 2-3 goals for the site
  30. 56 Student workers are a great resource for feedback Doesn’t

    have to be formal Involve them in the redesign Engage your users
  31. 58 Should map to your website goals Shouldn’t be about

    how the website looks but how it works Put content goals ahead of design goals Develop project goals
  32. 59 Be Specific… Words like “streamline” usually indicate the site

    has too much text/clutter Optimize the website for mobile devices Develop project goals
  33. 60 Use analytics to determine frequently accessed content on your

    site Feature appropriate content during stages of the admissions cycle Benchmark with analytics
  34. 61 Look at user behavior flow to identify how prospective

    students are traversing the site Ensure this flow meets your expectations If not, adjust Analytics
  35. 62 Determine your level of mobile traffic This info can

    be used to pitch senior mgmt. to fund RWD Analytics
  36. 63 Measure page load time to be sure you’re not

    losing visitors Users expect page load times of less than 5 seconds Analytics
  37. 64 Google has some nifty new tools to suggest how

    to optimize your site The tools link from Google Analytics Analytics
  38. 65 Analytics Google has some nifty new tools to suggest

    how to optimize your site The tools link from Google Analytics
  39. 66 In-page analytics visually shows where users are clicking Remove

    buttons or links nobody uses to reduce cognitive load Analytics
  40. 67 Use real-time analytics to see the current impact of

    admissions cycles or marketing campaigns Analytics
  41. 68 Judging by analytics, how well does your current site

    align with your site goals? Are users going to the pages you expect them to? Are there pages that can be eliminated? Perform a gap analysis
  42. 69 Categorize content in a logical way Logical to your

    users, not necessarily to you Think the way your users think Create a website outline
  43. 71 Keywords are excellent top navigation labels Search terms are

    good resources for navigation labels Create a website outline
  44. 72 Rewrite your content outside of the CMS (Word documents)

    to help focus on the messaging and not the formatting You can more easily route it around and/or refine it Write (or rewrite) the content
  45. LEARNING OUTCOME ACTIVITY 75 What would the Mt. SAC website

    be like if we had the power to make it any way we wanted? Visioning Exercise
  46. LEARNING OUTCOME ACTIVITY 79 How can the website support alumni

    and the broader community? Visioning Exercise
  47. LEARNING OUTCOME ACTIVITY 81 The top 3 priorities for the

    web project should be ... Grounding Exercise
  48. LEARNING OUTCOME ACTIVITY 82 It is important the Mt. SAC

    web should be ... Grounding Exercise
  49. LEARNING OUTCOME ACTIVITY 83 When using the web to speak

    to students, Mt. SAC should remember... Grounding Exercise