Is it time for a new website?

This might be a question that you’re asking, or that someone in your organization is asking you. It’s an important question because an effective digital experience can save time and money. Universities that prioritize having a website with a good user experience can leverage it to contribute to larger institutional goals and they will see a clear return on investment.

Not a Big Deal

Redeveloping a higher education website is no small undertaking. It might be something your team has been thinking and talking about for some time, but nothing has been formally initiated. A project of this scope is one of the bigger decisions a school will make, but there are some very tell-tale signs that it is a project that should be undertaken.

Data
Analytics like user engagement metrics, conversion rates, and overall traffic data are very clear performance indicators for a digital experience. Drill down into the data you have and look at specifics like website traffic, bounce rate, and pages per session.

Device
Mobile has overtaken ‘fixed’, or desktop internet access. The concept of ‘mobile first’ is no longer exclusive to technology-focused businesses and consumers — it is the default position for a growing number of internet users. Look closely at how your website is performing in terms of mobile traffic.

Workflow
Are your content and marketing teams feeling paralyzed by the website’s CMS? Workflow and governance issues are a major consideration for upgrading or moving to a new platform.

The Users
When you’re considering investing in a new website a great place to start an evaluation is with taking a close look at the users. This includes both the internal users responsible for using and maintaining the site, and the external users like prospective and current students.

Higher Education User Personas

Understanding how your target users engage with your digital experience is critical to the overall success of a project. While user personas are most often associated with marketing and advertising they can add tremendous value and insight during the development of a new website.

Here’s an article that we published in Oct of 2016 that is a useful resource to help you get started creating student personas for your higher education website.

5 Student Personas for Your Higher Education Website

Start by grouping users based on what they are trying to do and who they are. While personas are fictional they should be representative of real people and their needs, experiences, behaviours and goals.

Please contact us if you’d be interested in learning more about how we can help you with creating a great digital experience.

Main photo by Kimberly Farmer on Unsplash.