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Case Study: Rebuilding an Admissions Web Presence

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CASE STUDY: REBUILDING AN ADMISSIONS WEB PRESENCE Dave Olsen, Professional Technologist University Relations - Digital Services dmolsen@mail.wvu.edu WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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A Stranger in a Strange Land WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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A SKETCH OF THE TALK • Our goals, timeline, & team • Our process & results • The project’s influence on other channels WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Goal #1 Implement New Brand Get one of biggest properties utilizing the new brand elements. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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https://flic.kr/p/bBFZHK WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Goal #2 Focus on People Err on the side of making it easier for external audiences to take action related to our content. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Goal #3 Go Live in ~5 Months Project kick-off mid-March & launch July 1 WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR TEAM • Two reps from Admissions • Two designers • Two writers • One developer • One jack of all trades (me) WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR PROCESS Design isn’t Photoshop. Design is the aggregate of all these different things we can do to make sure that our intentions are communicated... - Chris Cashdollar, @ccashdollar WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR PROCESS • Research & discovery • Content & design – Develop structure – Migrate & develop content – Wireframe & design • Launch minimum viable product WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Research & Discovery Where can we find insights regarding what users need & want? How does Admissions currently conduct business? WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Traditional Research • 2014 E-Expectations Report from Noel-Levitz • Understanding WVU’s Brand from the Inside from Widmeyer Communications • 2014 WVU Competitor Analysis from Widmeyer Communications • 2013 Survey of Admitted Students from Eduventures • A Holistic Approach to Recruitment Planning & Programming from WVU VP of Enrollment • 2013 Admitted Student Questionnaire Plus Highlights Report from The College Board • Analysis of Admissions Website from WVU Director of Market Research WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Content Audit http://bit.ly/rebuild-admissions-ama WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Content Audit http://content-insight.com http://urlprofiler.com WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Competitive Analysis What are our peer institutions doing? How do they compare to the research? WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Customer Journey Map What does the user want to accomplish? At what stages of the process? How do we communicate with them? http://bit.ly/customer-journey-map-sm WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Research & Discovery What were our results? WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WEB • 96% of our admitted students in 2012 used our websites.1 • 77% of college seniors rated college websites the most influential resource in their search. 69% of parents.2 • 67% of all students and parents say a college website affected their perception of an institution.2 1 - 2013 Admitted Student Questionnaire Plus Highlights Report from The College Board 2 - 2014 E-Expectations Report from Noel-Levitz WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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ADMISSIONS WEB PRESENCE admissions.wvu.edu WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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ADMISSIONS WEB PRESENCE Print Pieces Financial Aid In-person Events Course Catalog Graduate Undergraduate Academic Affairs Undergraduate Scholarships Welcome To Project Me Orientation Tuition admissions.wvu.edu Create Your Story Go2 Housing Majors Course Listing Student Insurance Virtual Tour Decide WVU Days Student Life Registrar Adventure Orientation WVU Veterans Social Media About WVU Visit WVU Apply WVU Retention Dining Services One Global Honors Emails WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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ADMISSIONS WEB PRESENCE Welcome To Majors Tuition admissions.wvu.edu Create Your Story Go2 Apply WVU WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE CONTENT TO FOCUS ON To get on a student’s list of schools we must answer these key points so they can compare & consider: • Academics • Cost & financial aid • Our location WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE RESEARCH / ACADEMICS • 72% of our admits ranked academic reputation as “very important” when selecting a school.1 • While 75% of enrolling students rated us as “very good” or “excellent” for academic reputation only 43% of non-enrolling did.1 • Eduventures said only 24% of non-enrolling students described WVU as having a good academic reputation.2 1 - 2013 Admitted Student Questionnaire Plus Highlights Report from The College Board 2 - 2013 Survey of Admitted Students from Eduventures WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE RESEARCH / COST • 82% of our admits ranked cost as “very important” when selecting a school.1 • 68% of our enrolling students said aid or cost was significant when they chose WVU. 75% for those who received aid.1 1 - 2013 Admitted Student Questionnaire Plus Highlights Report from The College Board WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE IMPORTANCE OF BOTH Reflecting the audience’s preferences, messaging is most convincing when it exists in an academic context, an economic context, or, ideally, both. “Understanding WVU’s Brand from the Inside” from Widmeyer Communications WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE IMPORTANCE OF BOTH 86% of prospects ranked “provides high-quality education at an affordable price” as “very important” versus 74% ranking “cost” on its own as “very important.” “Understanding WVU’s Brand from the Inside” from Widmeyer Communications WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR VALUE FORMULA Academics / Cost = Value WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE RESEARCH / CAMPUS LIFE • Enrolling and non-enrolling students share the same perceptions about life on campus. 89% and 82% respectively agree it’s “fun.” 82% and 74% feel it’s a “‘spirit’ school.” 2013 Admitted Student Questionnaire Plus Highlights Report from The College Board WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR ANALYTICS 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Mar. 14 Oct. 14 /apply-wvu /life /opportunities Jan. 15 /visit


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OUR CONTENT / ACADEMICS WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR CONTENT / ACADEMICS WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR CONTENT / COST WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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WHAT WE NEEDED TO FIX • Expand & integrate core decision-related content like majors & cost. • Avoid dead ends for users. Be clear how they can take action on their interest. • Merge duplicative properties like Welcome To, Go2, & Create Your Story. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Setting Goals Tied them to “real world” actions like inquiries, app submissions, deposits and enrollment. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR PROCESS • Research & discovery • Content & design – Develop structure – Migrate & develop content – Wireframe & design • Launch minimum viable product WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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https://flic.kr/p/qdkFQq WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Content & Design Two paths that can be taken at the same time yet inform one another. The priority should always go to content. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR PROCESS We’re not designing pages, we’re designing systems of components. - Stephen Hay, @stephenhay WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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CONTENT PRIORITY GUIDE http://bit.ly/10zaQAZ courtesy of Emily Gray, Sparkbox WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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GATHERCONTENT http://gathercontent.com WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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WVU BRAND PATTERNS http://patterns.wvu.edu http://bit.ly/pages-to-patterns-ama WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR PROCESS • Research & discovery • Content & design – Develop structure – Migrate & develop content – Wireframe & design • Launch minimum viable product WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE BEFORE WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THE AFTER WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / ANALYTICS First two weeks in October 2014 vs 2015 WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / APPLICATIONS UP YTY WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / ACADEMICS WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / ACADEMICS WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / ACADEMICS • 21,000 uses of “major search” since July 22. • 3,500 unique keywords. Users search for careers & majors. • Top five keywords: Nursing, Engineering, Business, Physical Therapy**, and Biology. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / COST WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / COST WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR RESULTS / COST WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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INTEGRATING CONTENT • Ohio Reciprocity on major pages. • Tuition customized to major on each major page. • Want to add Academic Common Market & unique scholarship information to each major page. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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OUR MISSTEPS • Lack of a taskmaster • Content gone bad: requirements, international students, & keywords • Underestimating upkeep time • Lack of cross-dept. reporting • Real user testing tough to get going WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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GOING BEYOND DIGITAL • Content audits for print & email • Sharing research knowledge • Integrated meetings • Buckets o’ content • Multi-channel editorial calendar WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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The What Rebuilding a Web Presence The goals & process for rebuilding West Virginia University’s admissions web presence. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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So What Guidance for Your Efforts Hopefully the tools & techniques we used can help you as you tackle your rebuilds. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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Now What Go Forth & Do Good Do your own research Be an advocate for users Edit with a critical eye Integrate your efforts WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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THANK YOU & QUESTIONS Dave Olsen, Professional Technologist University Relations - Digital Services dmolsen@mail.wvu.edu WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY RELATIONS - DIGITAL SERVICES


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