A thriving community college came to us looking for a redesign that would help them achieve specific KPIs. After years of organic growth and politically-driven decisions about content, they wanted to leverage their analytics and our expertise with education websites to drive measurable results: specifically admissions applications and enrollment into their non-degree courses.
They also wanted to empower new students to self-service as much as possible to alleviate strain on their team at the beginning of each term.
The community college had Google Analytics installed, but struggled to understand what the results meant and how to leverage them to make improvements. I initiated the project by giving stakeholders a walkthrough of their analytics, and what they meant for our redesign efforts.
Because the stakeholders were less familiar with spreadsheets, I marked up one of Google’s in-page heat maps with annotations illustrating how to interpret the numbers. Throughout the project, my team referred back to the findings to support our design decisions.
The college came to us with a site map redesign they were prepared to move forward
Based on our reviews of their analytics, and experience working with other community colleges, we were able to help them refine the information architecture and make some key recommendations for messaging and labeling within their navigation.
As with many college websites, the community college site contains multiple sections and has a tendency to sprawl over time. To best prepare for the future use of this CMS-driven site, I focused on providing flexible templates for their most common page types, in both desktop and mobile views.
I also included a “kitchen sink” page to showcase their common content elements for them to leverage on their general content pages that didn’t fit into one of these specific templates.
Because we were delivering wireframes for a CMS-driven website, and the college’s developers would be doing the implementation, we marked up a detailed functional specification after providing visual designs.
We partnered closely with stakeholders to understand expectations and review the specification to make sure we communicated what they ultimately needed.
Tools & methods:
- Analytics review
- Site map
- Responsive design
- Axure wireframes
- Functional specification