City University London has launched a new version of its homepage. This new design corrects many problems identified by our Web Marketing Executives Kathryn Wright and Caitlin Huson in conjunction with expert reviews and analysis conducted by members of Web Team.
A quick overview
- The homepage entered into production in January 2007 without sufficient testing and has remained unchanged across three recruitment cycles.
- It’s the most important page on the website with ~220,000 unique external visitors per month. This equates to 3.5 Undergraduate Open Days every day!
- It does not fit the strategy of the University and so we decided to take the initiative to affect positive changes.
What has changed?
A larger carousel image gives the University more marketing area but, more importantly, the space in which to provide evidence for otherwise generic “marketese” type statements. This evidence should improve our transparency and credibility as an institution whilst also delivering relevant content to our audience.
This provides much greater context and understanding of our site map by exposing our core content in themed chunks. It also increases the number of hyperlinks by 30 without adversely increasing complexity, and so the load on our users, or by increasing the amount dedicated screen estate on the homepage.
From a marketing perspective, we now have greater control of our USPs, funnels and tasks — especially in revenue generating areas.
News and Events
This content is now usable! The new layout removes the unnecessary truncation of headlines whilst also fully revealing our upcoming events (previously hidden behind a “Events” tab). We now have more news stories on the homepage along with the ability to publicise news in the main carousel.
This business unit now has a dedicated area which affords them far greater control over the marketing of their events. It also means that they no longer dominate the carousel for the majority of the academic year. This means that the carousel can describe the rhythm of life at the University along with our expertise.
This is promoted in importance and usability. With good SEO (links and keywords) we are able to push all of our courses as well as secondary course streams such as Continuing Professional Development and Evening & Weekend courses.
We’ve relished the chance to work collaboratively and pro-actively using our internal resource and expertise; not least as we often find that we only have time to react to the competing demands of Schools and Central Service Departments. We’re really looking forward to extending these and getting our hands dirty with Brandwidth — the agency coordinating the website redevelopment project.
Caitlin Huson and Kathryn Wright, Web Marketing Executives
- Project inception and business case
- Content work and copywriting
- Analysis of user needs with Google Analytics, a web statistics application
- Coordination with decision makers and stakeholders across the University
Larry Naman, Web Services Developer
- High fidelity prototyping in Photoshop
Rik Williams, Web Services Developer
- Competitor Analysis and business case
- Information Architecture recommendations
- Conceptual design / wireframes
Steve Jordan, Web Services Developer
- Server side video scripting
- Client side video overlay scripting
Anja Bailey, Head of Marketing
- Project approval and critique.