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Go for the Goals: HighEdWeb 2018 Presentation


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Helping prospective students find what they need, how they need it—and look good doing it.

Presented by Emily Mayock, Case Western Reserve University

Published in: Education
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Go for the Goals: HighEdWeb 2018 Presentation

  1. 1. Go for the Goals Helping prospective students find what they need, how they need it—and look good doing it Emily Mayock
 Assistant Vice President, Online & Internal Communications Case Western Reserve University
  3. 3. For many of us, finding information about colleges was difficult. For prospective students today, the difficulty may lie in information overload.
  4. 4. So how can you stand out to busy, overloaded teens, 
 in a sea of similar- seeming schools?
  5. 5. “It’s just so generic.”
  6. 6. Redesign Goals
  7. 7. Redesign Goals • Define and execute voice and tone • Improve navigation • Make critical tasks (apply) and information gathering (tuition rates) easier • Make the site more visually interesting— but still easy to update • Showcase our unique location • Be more authentic—not generic
  8. 8. Measuring Success
  9. 9. • Increase unique visits to the homepage by 10% • Up traffic to the apply page by 10% • Hold applications steady • Attract even more academically accomplished and well-rounded students • Boost traffic to “schedule a visit” form • Decrease overall page count Measuring Success
  10. 10. Know Your Audience Pro tip: It’s not “everyone."
  11. 11. Goals: ✔ Audience: ✔ Authenticity: ❌
  12. 12. Use What You’ve Got Research is time-consuming—but critical. Use your available resources effectively.
 • Tour guides are one of your most helpful assets, for many reasons • Find existing research into your audience and use it; don’t redo valid work for the sake of redoing
  13. 13. Boundless Focused Inquisitive Genuine Gutsy
  14. 14. Define and Execute Tone
  15. 15. Who are you, who are you not, and who do you want to be? • Card-sorting exercises are critical to determine your voice and tone • Every decision you make in terms of content—words, images, video and design—needs to reflect these decisions Goal 1: Define Voice & Tone
  16. 16. Improve Navigation
  17. 17. Goal 2: Improve Navigation*
 *Side effect goal: Decrease page count Streamline your content! • Clean house wherever you can, before you get to reworking. • Does it have a purpose—and does it make an impact—where it is? If not, move, rework or remove. • Analytics are like a good attorney: They present the facts to make your case.
  18. 18. How can you rework your content to actually work? •Consolidate! We cut our page count by half, finding better, more prominent places for everything •By sharing visual, information-filled, topic-driven pages instead of bland, text-heavy, niche pages, we could actually give more prominence to the pages that received little traffic Goal 2: Improve Navigation*
 *Side effect goal: Decrease page count
  19. 19. 54 visits to the dining page from September 2016 to mid-January 2017
  20. 20. 1,823 Visits to the housing and dining page from September 2017 to mid-January 2018
  21. 21. Test, Fix, Test Again User testing is critical. Remember, you are not your average user. • Just because you understand how to navigate your site or operate a feature doesn’t mean everyone will. Navigation is meant to provide a clear path. • Eliminate excessive links that splinter your traffic.
  22. 22. 17% of traffic to the apply page, from the homepage
  23. 23. 39% of traffic to the apply page, from the homepage
  24. 24. Make Critical Tasks Easier
  25. 25. Why college students visit your site: 1. Tuition rates 2. Scholarships 3. Programs offered 4. Financial aid 5. Apply Source: Ruffalo Noel Levitz 2018 E-Expectations Trend Report Goal 3: Make completing tasks and finding information easier
  26. 26. Goal 3: Make completing tasks and finding information easier
  27. 27. Goal 3: Make Completing Tasks and Finding Information Easier Again, consolidate. Test. Accommodate. • Consolidated multiple rankings/facts-driven pages into one • Students struggled to find key facts on the old site • Placement still may not be ideal—so where else can it be featured to ensure there are multiple ways of finding it? It never hurts to be helpful.
  28. 28. Improve aesthetics while maintaining ease of updates
  29. 29. Goal 4: Improve Aesthetics While Improving Ease of Updates for End Users 77% rated our setup of Drupal as easier or significantly easier than previous CMS
  30. 30. Showcase Location
  31. 31. Goal 5: Showcase Our Location • Urban campus in a park-like setting in Cleveland, Ohio • In the heart of one the most culturally dense square miles in the U.S. • Quick walk to the No. 2 hospital in the country, a statewide medical powerhouse and a VA hospital • Short car, bus or train ride from downtown
  32. 32. Be Authentic
  33. 33. Goal 6: Be Authentic • Defined our voice and tone • Reworked all content—including images and video —to make sure it aligned • Listened to our users to determine what actually worked for them • Consolidated and re-architected the site content to better meet our voice, tone and overall goals • Shared with prospectives their need-to-know information that is unique to us—tuition, programs • Showed our unique campus location
  34. 34. So…
 did it pay off?
  35. 35. 25,379 applications to the Class of 2021 (pre-redesign) —a record-breaking number!
  36. 36. 26,646 applications to the Class of 2022 (post-redesign) —again, a record-breaking number!
  37. 37. 5% growth in applications, year over year
  38. 38. boost in traffic to Undergraduate Admissions’ homepage 25% decrease in exit rates from the homepage 8% increase in traffic to the visit/events section 334%
  39. 39. 1,390students:
 our largest, most academically accomplished class in university history
  40. 40. emily.mayock@