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Website ER: Rapid Refresh vs. Total Redesign for Triaging Immediate Needs
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Website ER: Rapid Refresh vs. Total Redesign for Triaging Immediate Needs

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This was originally delivered as a session for the CASE District 1 Conference: Jan 27, 2011 …

This was originally delivered as a session for the CASE District 1 Conference: Jan 27, 2011

Is your institution’s website in need of an overhaul, but you simply do not have the time or resources to make it happen? We’ll walk you through an actual site audit for a prestigious higher ed institution, and showcase the evolution that can occur in a matter of weeks. By taking a look at the college’s original website, we’ll give you a sense of what can and should be improved upon, then fast forward to the refreshed website, to review what changes were implemented—-in under 12 weeks time.

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  • 1. 2011 CASE district i: Making the connection
    Website ER: Rapid Refresh vs. Total Redesign for Triaging Immediate Needs
  • 2. Website ER: Refresh vs. Redesign
    “Is your institution’s website in need of an overhaul, but you simply do not have the time or resources to make it happen? We’ll walk you through an actual site audit for a prestigious higher ed institution, and showcase the evolution that can occur in a matter of weeks. By taking a look at the college’s original website, we’ll give you a sense of what can and should be improved upon, then fast forward to the refreshed website, to review what changes were implemented—in under 12 weeks time. “
  • 3. Agenda
    Introductions / About us – 3m
    Refresh: what and why? – 3m
    Refresh vs. Redesign – 3m
    Case Study: Bryn Mawr – 30m
    • Situation
    • 4. Process
    • 5. Results
    • 6. Lessons learned from the Client
    • 7. Lessons learned from the Designers
    Prerequisites for Success – 3m
    Case Study 2: Plymouth State University – 5m
    Conclusion/Caveats – 3m
    Questions – 10m
  • 8. About Us
    Jenny Rickard
    Chief Enrollment & Communications Officer
    Bryn Mawr College
    Alen Yen
    President/Creative Director
    iFactory, a division of RDW Group
  • 9. General information
    • One of the original “Seven Sisters” located 10 miles outside of Philadelphia
    • 10. 1,300 undergraduate students over 50% of whom are students of color or international students; 400 graduate students
    • 11. Cross-registration with Haverford, Swarthmore, and the University of Pennsylvania.
    Some distinguishing characteristics
    • The first of the women’s colleges to offer education through the Ph.D.
    • 12. The first student self-government association in the United States.
    • 13. Among the top ten of all colleges and universities in the United States in terms of the proportion of students (male and female) who go on to earn the Ph.D.
    • 14. Women at Bryn Mawr major in math and science at a rate that is 4 times the national average.
    • 15. Bryn Mawr ranks 2nd among all colleges and universities in the proportion of women majoring in math. The sheer number of women majoring in math at Bryn Mawr exceeds both MIT and CalTech.
  • About iFactory
    Founded in 1992, iFactory is Boston’s longest-serving digital media agency. We create innovative, practical media solutions custom-tailored to improve how you communicate and transact with your students, prospective enrollees, alumni, faculty and staff.
    Clients include:
    Boston University
    Bryn Mawr
    Cornell
    Harvard
    MIT
    New York University
    Roger Williams University
    Tufts University
    University of Chicago
    University of Illinois Chicago
    University of North Carolina
    University of Pennsylvania
    University of Virginia
    Wheelock College
    Yale University
  • 16. Refresh: what and why?
    A refresh involves doing a quick expert review of what’s wrong with your site, and then executing a plan to fix everything you can within an allotted timeframe.
    A refresh differs from the typical website redesign project in that it bypasses a number of best practices which ensure long-term success and the best quality of solutions
    Metaphor: kitchen remodelling vs. refreshing
    Same appliances
    Same cabinetry
    Repainting
    New knobs and handles
    The primary driver to do a refresh vs. a redesign is timeframe. Budget can also be a factor.
  • 17. Refresh vs. Redesign: change in scope
    TYPICAL REDESIGN PROCESS: 7 – 9 months
    Brand messaging and positioning
    Website strategy and discovery
    Expert Review
    Stats analysis
    Focus groups
    Stakeholder interviews
    Competitive audit
    Strategic brief
    Usability test on existing site
    Technical audit
    Information Architecture
    Sitemap – reorganize hierarchical structure of all content
    Wireframe – redesign all user experience and navigation schemes for best practices
    Usability test of proposed solutions
    Functional specification
    Art Direction
    Look and Feel
    Code templates
    Institute new site-wide technical solution
    RAPID REFRESH: 1 – 2 months
    Brand messaging and positioning
    Website strategy and discovery
    Expert Review
    Stats analysis
    Focus groups
    Stakeholder interviews
    Competitive audit
    Strategic brief
    Usability test on existing site
    Technical audit
    Information Architecture
    Sitemap – adjust nomenclature for best practice, but leave structure intact
    Wireframe – remove troublesome elements and modify some elements of navigation
    Usability test of proposed solutions
    Functional specification
    Art Direction
    Look and Feel
    Code templates
    Institute new technical solution
  • 18. Case study: Bryn Mawr: situation
    Situation
    • Had completed a full-scale redesign by committee of the web site two years earlier
    Consensus agreement that the web site was not meeting needs from an aesthetic and high-level functional perspective
    Specific Time-Sensitive Goal: 125th Anniversary
    Process
    • Setting scope – what the project was and was not
    • 19. Core project team – understanding everyone’s roles
    • 20. Agreement that Core project team could make the decisions
    • 21. Detailed RFP outlining the project - visual and technical requirements
    • 22. Selecting a partner that understood the difference between a “refresh” and an “overhaul”
    • 23. Communication with the community and “web stewards” as a way of including them in the process
    • 24. Making sure offices and departments would not have to do any work!
  • Case study: Bryn Mawr: situation
  • 25. Case study: Bryn Mawr: Process
    Tools
    Client extranet
    Discovery
    • Expert review
    • 26. Interim brand positioning and messaging led by Mary Ann Hill
    • 27. Sitemap and wireframing
    Design
    • Typical art direction process
    • 28. Typical look and feel process
    Implementation
    • Pass off to internal team at Bryn Mawr
  • Case study: Bryn Mawr: Results
  • 29. Case study: Bryn Mawr: Lessons Learned from the Client
    • Great project managers on both sides (people who know how to get stuff done!)
    • 30. Clearly defined roles
    • 31. Existing “interim” institutional messages to incorporate into new design
    • 32. Sticking to the schedule and meeting all internal deadlines
    • 33. Not being too obsessed with including the entire community, but making sure the changes were being communicated and offering ways for them to contribute (eg., photo contest)
    • 34. Creating a great team interaction: Bryn Mawr College Communications, Web Services, and iFactory
    • 35. Having fun
  • Case study: Bryn Mawr: Lessons Learned from the Designers
    Amazing client dedication
    Manage of feedback cycles
    Getting buy-in at the top
    Involving Bryn Mawr web services team early and frequently was crucial
    Invest in clean code and CSS!
  • 36. Pre-requisites for success
    Strong project leadership
    Organized communications and interaction tools
    Commitment to deadlines and feedback cycles
    Clear path for improving messaging and positioning
    Quality visual assets ready to go
    Understanding phased commitment to improvement
    Agreement by all that in this situation, perfect is the enemy of good
    Additional case study: Plymouth State University
  • 37. Conclusion / Caveats / Questions
    Refresh is great for
    time sensitive needs
    aesthetic improvement
    better brand communications
    Redesign is required for
    true improvement in usability
    adherence to best practice
    continuously successful, updated site